Published on : Wednesday, July 26, 2017
APART FROM Aviation anoraks, passengers don’t give much attention to the of aircraft they are travelling on. The basic priority is to lands safely – and on schedule. But perhaps it’s time to pay closer attention because a raft of new aircraft would taking to the skies that are supposed to make an impact on the way we travel.
Cue Ryanair, which will be taking delivery of a new fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft between 2019 and 2023. Describing the planes with that well-worn adjective “game changer”, the airline claims the new jets will impact passengers – mainly their wallets.
How will the planes affect fares?
The Irish carrier claims prices will go down when the new fleet takes to the skies.
“These new aircraft will reduce fuel consumption by up to 16 per cent, while offering four per cent more seats per flight, which will further reduce Ryanair’s industry leading low costs,” a spokesperson for the airline told Telegraph Travel. “The savings will be passed on via lower fares to our customers.”
We’ll hold them to that.
Will this impact comfort?
If the good news is lower fares, the bad news surely is the additional four per cent capacity per plane; it’s not as though there’s a surfeit of space on Ryanair’s current 737-800s, which are the same size as the new jets.
Well, Ryanair claims that while it has reconfigured the new aircraft to accommodate an eight passengers per plane, this is not tantamount to cramming. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“These new aircraft will have the same fuselage as our current aircraft, but will have reconfigured toilets and galleys, and slimline seats, allowing more room to add an additional eight seats,” said a spokesperson for the airline. “The aircraft will offer more legroom than BA and Lufthansa economy – there will be no cramming.”
Does that mean more room for cabin baggage?
The airline claims the new planes will allow for additional hand luggage, but don’t expect that to signal an end of carry-on bags being transferred to the hold; currently only 90 standard-sized cases (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) are guaranteed to travel in the cabin on Ryanair’s planes and this is unlikely to increase significantly with the new jets.
Will there be new routes?
If Ryanair’s new jets consume 15 per cent less fuel that presumably means they a 15 per cent larger range? According to Ryanair’s website, its current fleet has a maximum range of 5,950km – around the distance from London to Central Asia. The 737 MAX 8, designed to replace the 737-800, will have a range of up to 6,690km. That puts the East Coast of America within reach.
The carrier says, however, that it won’t be putting any long-haul pins in its route map.
“We’re solely focussed on growing within Europe at the moment,” a spokesperson told us.
What are its rivals up to?
Ryanair’s upstart rivals intend to use their latest aircraft to open up new routes. As Telegraph Travel reported yesterday, a little-known low-cost carrier from Iceland, Primera Air, will start flying from the UK to the US next year for as little as £149 one way.
Using Airbus’s new A321neo and A321LR jets, the airline will serve New York (Newark) and Boston from both Birmingham and London Stansted, pitching it against Norwegian, which already offers transatlantic flights for the same cost.