O’Leary clowns around with acceptance of 349th 737-800

In an industry where dull MBAs now dominate and the likes of Herb Kelleher have long since retired, Michael O’Leary is a breath of fresh air.

O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, was in Seattle Tuesday for the delivery of the carrier’s 349th Boeing 737-800 and the first one of a massive 737NG order announced last year at the Paris Air Show.

O’Leary, wearing a set of 737 MAX winglets made out of 3D printing by Boeing engineers, nearly pranced around a crowd of Boeing employees before accepting delivery of the aircraft.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary clowns around with Boeing employees at the delivery of the carrier's 389th 737-800, 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary clowns around with Boeing employees at the delivery of the carrier’s 349th 737-800, 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Repeating much of what he said Monday upon announcing an order for up to 200 737 MAX 200s, O’Leary said he had been hounding Boeing for 15 years (on Monday it was 10) to add more seats to the 737-800.

“Every engineer said it couldn’t be done, 10 years ago, six years ago, five, four,” until Ray Conner became CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and it “can be done.”

O’Leary said the MAX 200 will be a “game-changer for low cost airlines.”

O’Leary, notoriously cheap and proud of the low prices he pays for his 737s,  complained that he had to pay a premium for the MAX 200, verbally poking Conner about making him pay more.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary (left) complained that "this is how Ray negotiates." Ray Conner (right) is CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The two celebrated the delivery of Ryanair's 349th 737-800. 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary (left) complained that “this is how Ray negotiates.” Ray Conner (right) is CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The two celebrated the delivery of Ryanair’s 349th 737-800. O’Leary is wearing 3D-printed 737 MAX Advanced Technology Winglets. For those wondering, O’Leary is wearing a Seattle Seahawks jersey with Marshawn Lynch’s number and name. 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Ryanair began operations with six ex-Britannia Boeing 737-200s. It now has ordered more 737s than any other airline.

26 Comments on “O’Leary clowns around with acceptance of 349th 737-800

  1. Ryanair began in 1985 with one Embraer EMB 100 “Bandeirante”, then two BAE 748’s followed by several BAC 1-11’s and ATR 42’s. It only acquired 737s in 1994.

  2. I think it is unfortunate Boeing decided to launch the B-737MAX-200 (a version of the B-737MAX-8). That is going to be a very crowded airplane, not one I would be looking forward to riding on. What is Boeing going to do next? A B-737MAX-240 (cattle car version of the B-737MAX-9) for Lion Air and compete with the 240 seat A-321NEO?
    Back in the late `60s and early `70s military chartered commercial airliners had about 250 seats on a DC-8-61/-63, and about 220 on a B-707-320B/C. Those airplanes were much bigger than today’s NBs are.
    Enough is enough.

    • Not much of a size difference between a 737 and 707. Keep in mind the cockpit was much larger back in the 4 person crew days. Plus Ryan is cutting out the galleys so that will save several feet of space.

      Length: 144ft 6in

      Length: 152ft 11in

      Length: 129ft 6in

      Length: 138ft 2in

      Yes, the seats had a bit more leg room but the seats were also a whole lot thicker as I recall. But you get what you pay for. If you don’t like what Ryan Air is doing don’t fly them. If people think this is over the line and avoid flying them, they will get the message.

      • The real problem is that for most of the people “avoiding Ryanair” is not an option, I think they are the ONLY option in most of their routes…

        I’m from Fuerteventura, before Ryanair, even when there were lots of “inbound” charter flights, we could only go to LPA, TFN, Madrid and sometimes to Barcelona

        Now Ryanair offers more than 20 destinations from there and I don’t think that there is a second carrier on more than 5 of those destinations…

    • Boeing is launching this airplane because airlines like Ryaniar have asked for it. I am not a fan of the shrinking seat pitch offered to airline passengers by ultra low cost airlines but the fact that these airlines are profitable and growing is evidence that enough people are willing to trade comfort for a lower ticket price.

      • I agree with all of you, – But Boeing launches a new model/derivative because the marked is there.
        The marked is there because people here in Europe buy a LOT of tickets from Ryanair. I guess 85% of all passenger have bought their own ticket/or Family.
        So nobody has been forced into these seats, they have made a choice, and they have chosen (probably) the cheapest ticket.

    • Some of the 757s are reaching recommended flight-pressure cycles maximum, when that happens;planes become to expensive to maintain. Demand for single-isle planes is quite high seasonally.As the 737 air-frame is substantially lighter than any A318,A319,A320,A321……….a stretched maximum-capacity 737 makes you (The Carrier)more money. 707,7227,737,757 all use the identical air-frame………..what make them different is a mix/match-up of Tail,Rudder,Wing boxes. 200 seats is the ideal number………as the plane will usually be full year-round………..very few empty seats. A super stretch version of the 737 using extended wings and quite possible 757 tooling(that Boeing still has)is quite possible………as the actual transaction price paid by Carriers is a win for Boeing and the Airlines. Remember Boeing can manufacture 737s with far few employees/plants than Airbus……….because it has production efficiency nailed. Boeing builds/stretches what the airline wants and will buy.Look at the 777 Program,Airbus laughed at it, and now every International carrier has one or wants more. And since the 757 program was idled……….777 is the cash-cow for Boeing. 757 was the cash-cow above the 737,767,747 for many years………..tooling already paid for from the 1950s.

  3. “It now has ordered more 737s than any other airline.”
    I think Southwest has more orders. They ordered 200 of the Max 7s and 8s. You might want to double check this.

  4. The Airlines chose the configurations of the aircraft they purchase. Ryanair has been successful because people are willing to endure tight quarters to save hundreds of dollars. The other option is to pay more to get the space you want. Hard to fault Boeing or Airbus for listening to their customers.

  5. From Boeing’s PR, this is currently only “a commitment”, so an LoI or MoU. I have no doubt it will be firmed in due course.

    It will be interesting to see if existing Max 8 customers switch to the Max 200.

  6. O’Leary’s clowning around sort of puts a human face on an inhuman airline. I wonder if Ryanair can prosper after he leaves? I always suspect his clowning around is carefully calculated.

    • I guess putting two toilets in the aft galley complex, similar to what is offered on the A320. Frees up 6 seats. http://oi58.tinypic.com/3534dxl.jpg Similar galley reduction in the front of the aircraft, ultra flat seats. The -900ER extra door and flat bulkhead are very heavy. But thats a trade-off.

    • And even split ones at that!
      ( Though they estimated his head being smaller when designing that gizmo going by the angles the lower “let”s are pointing ,-)

  7. In an industry where dull MBAs now dominate and the likes of Herb Kelleher have long since retired, Michael O’Leary is a breath of fresh air.

    I can see the novelty factor of O’Leary across the pond where he’s not constantly in the news. But living in O’Leary’s native Ireland where he liberally spreads his opinions on a variety of topics, I have to disagree with you – he’s a bit of a nuisance. 😉

  8. There is a song by ‘FASCINATING ADIA’ on you tube that take the the mic out of Mr O’Leary’s cheep flight’s.

  9. Do I recall correctly that the average Ryanair flight is under 1 hour in duration? If so, one can see why people would be willing to trade comfort for lower ticket cost.

    • For the fun of it I looked up seat spacing for long distance coaches in Germany.
      27.5″ to 32″ ( 1 to 5 star coach ). Going from maybe Hamburg to Barcelona really takes some time.( 1800km / 20..22 hours traveltime.. and people like this ( they say )).
      So I just cannot imagine why anyone would be unhappy about 28″ seating for 2+ hours.

      • 27.5″ to 32″ ( 1 to 5 star coach ).

        Funny how even the 5* has the same seat pitch as – say – Aer Lingus economy.

        So I just cannot imagine why anyone would be unhappy about 28″ seating for 2+ hours.

        Well – if they don’t complain about 32″ for 20 hours, they probably won’t complain about 28″ for 2 hours.
        And the seat pitch is indeed probably not the main reason I personally am not using Ryanair.

        Having said that, though – I fly mostly intra-Europe on Aer Lingus (32″ in economy). Even the 2″ step down to LH’s intra-Europe 30″ seat pitch is quite noticeable, even on a 2 hour flight.

  10. The Al Jazeera 787 special is now available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvkEpstd9os

    It was actually better than I had expected. There are some silly gimmicks in there, like for instance that the filmmaker traveled to Japan to ask a supplier for an interview – but they rejected. The more severe criticism of the 787 program is the claim that the Charleston workforce is insufficiently trained, generally unskilled and basically demoralized, and that there are real quality concerns as a result. One disgruntled former employee who’s an expert on composite materials even mentions a fear of potential structural failure of a fuselage, and that quality assurance processes don’t work as intended. The filmmaker also accuses Boeing of shortcircuiting the FAA certification process by bribing the responsible FAA official Ali Bahrami through a revolving door scheme. Quite serious allegations indeed.

    • Al Jezeera has a well earned good reputation. Their presentation not fitting a personal worldview and associated perceptions could be taken as “not knowing enough” but most seem to just diss AJ as a preemptive measure.
      Partisanship to ones own likening is not “good journalism”.

      Going by what you report they cover the items that have been known anyway but were kept in “low visibility” to the general public.

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