A little after 5:00am EST this morning, Boeing let the cat out of the bag: Ryanair is set to order 175 Boeing 737-800′s, which is the largest Boeing airplane order in Europe to date. Although an impressive order, the news was surely not breaking, since rumors of the order have been circulating for a while.
“This agreement is an amazing testament to the value that the Next-Generation 737 brings to Ryanair,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Ray Conner. “We are pleased that the Next-Generation 737, as the most efficient, most reliable large single-aisle airplane flying today, has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the Ryanair fleet. Our partnership with this great European low-cost carrier is of the utmost importance to everyone at The Boeing Company and I could not be more proud to see it extended for years to come.”
BONUS: The five stages passengers go through when flying ultra low-cost carriers
Currently, Ryanair operates a fleet of over 300 737-800′s and it is expected that these new aircraft will help them expand their operations. When asked if Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, if there were plans for long haul operations, he stated, “I don’t see an opportunity for the next two to three years.” In proper O’Leary style (who is not known to act like your typical CEO), stated that he was, “drunk at the time,” when asked how much he spent on the price of the aircraft.
When O’Leary was asked why New York City was chosen as the location of the announcement, he jokingly replied it was to help divert attention from the 787 within the US. He then clarified that about 50% of the airline’s shareholders are located on the east coast of the US. O’Leary stated he was planning on attending a few shareholder meetings to assure folks that the airline is not planing to start growing like “gangbusters,” and that they plan to have a more controlled growth.
This order also means that the Boeing 737NG will continue to be produced next to the 737 MAX for quite sometime. “As today’s announcement demonstrates, there is still significant demand for the Next-Generation 737,” Linda Lee, 737 Program Communications explained to AirlineReporter.com. “This demand is the reason we decided to boost production rates to 42 per month starting the 2nd quarter of 2014.”
Yesterday, Boeing had sent out notification of the announcement today and there was quite a bit of speculation, but now we know. We were hoping for something a bit more glitzy. I mean even, seeing the Ryanair logo on the new MAX winglet would be more exciting. I guess overall this is good news for both Boeing and Airbus right? Where an order for 175 airplanes from one airline just isn’t as exciting as it used to be?
David Parker Brown and Jason Rabinowitz contributed to this story. Also catch additional background information on Airchive.com.
TWITTER PHOTOS FROM THE RYANAIR 737 PRESS CONFERENCE:
Ryanair Boeing 737 seen in Seattle before delivery. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren.
If you cover the airline world, you probably know the name, Stephen McNamara. He is the crazy (or pure genius) PR person behind Ryanair. I was shocked to recently read that he will be leaving Ryanair and heading over to Rugby Football Union as their Director of Communications.
You see, I have a special place in my heart for Mr. McNamara. He is well known as being elusive to many in the aviation journalism biz and I was extremely privileged to have him email me about some “mis-information” a while back. Him leaving has stirred up the memories and I wanted to reminisce.
It all started with me writing a story way back on March 10th 2010 about Ryanair stranding some passengers. The story showed up on my blog, but also on my Seattle PI syndication. This is where Mr. McNamara found my story and strongly disagreed with what he read. He wrote directly to the Seattle PI, but since they have no editorial control over my content, the email was forwarded to me. Mr. McNamara did not like that the Seattle PI was not able to change my story.
“Your answer is less than satisfactory and it is a damming indictment of the Seattlepi.com that you would allow clearly incorrect and biased information appear and remain on your site – brushing this off as an issue for the publisher is simply rubbish – it is on your site, you are the publisher,” McNamara stated in his response to the PI (see his full reply here). Even at this early stage in my blogging career, I knew I was on to some gold-standard material.
BONUS: The five stages passengers go through when flying ultra low-cost carriers — like Ryanair
Stephen McNamara, currently head of PR for Ryanair.
I decided to write him back. I truly don’t want to be writing wrong information and was happy to update my story. Although he stated that he doesn’t “have the time (or resources) to correct the errors most bloggers come up with,” McNamara gave me a very long winded reply email correcting my mistakes. His reply was filled with even better material and I questioned if I should share his entire email or just give a summary. Knowing Ryanair loves the negative attention and the fact that the message was just too good not to share, I made the decision to copy and paste.
If the same thing would happen today, I probably wouldn’t make the same move, but there are benefits to being a lesser known blogger.
Don’t get me wrong here… I have tremendous respect for Ryanair and Mr. McNamara. The crazy ideas they have come up with, just to get free publicity, have been pure genius. The fact that so many journalists around the world pick up the stories as fact has been hilarious.
Passengers and media love to hate this airline, but their business model of extreme ala-cart pricing and laughable headlines getting them free publicity has made them one of the most successful airlines.
It is amusing to me that some headings (example one and two) stated that working as head of Ryanair PR is the worst PR job in the world (well, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary actually said it first). I think I have to disagree a bit. Where else can you come up with stories, like offering standing seats only, banning kids from flights, requiring passengers to pay for toilets or state you are looking at only having one pilot instead of two in each plane and have media around the world eat up your story and give your company publicity? That sounds like a pretty rad PR job to me.
So, Mr. McNamara, I salute you and the work you have done at Ryanair. I hope your replacement is as equally entertaining and able to provide high-end content for little ‘ol bloggers like me. The fact that I have traveled the world to cover different airline and travel stories, but our interaction over two and a half years ago is still one of my favorite all-time stories says something. I wish you the best of luck.
NOTE: I will be emailing Mr. McNamara with a link to this story hoping to get some sort of comment. If so, I will update the story. I wouldn’t hold your breath, but it is the giving season right?
||This story written by… David Parker Brown, Editor & Founder.
David started AirlineReporter.com in the summer of 2008, but has had a passion for aviation since he was a kid. Born and raised in the Seattle area (where he is currently based) has surely had an influence and he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.
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Malaysia Airlines has announced no kids in first class, will Ryanair ban all kids from some of their flights too?
Recently Malaysia Airlines announced they would no longer allow babies to fly in their first class cabins on Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A380s when they go into service. This comes after complaints by first class passengers, who pay a pretty penny, not wanting to hear screaming kids during their flight. The airline has stated they have tried noise cancelling headphones, but passengers wanted the baby-ban. The airline still plans to allow babies in business and economy class seats.
Ryanair also recently announced they would start offering child-free flights this October. However, they announced the new flights right before April’s Fools and they have not officially announced one way or another if they will actually be offering the flights.
On the other side of the spectrum, I just got an email in my inbox this morning from Qatar Airways stating that two kids can fly for free (plus taxes and surcharges) with one adult. It doesn’t appear to be directly related to Malaysia Airlines not allowing babies to fly, but it is pretty good timing.
Reading many of the comments on the internet after Ryanair’s announcement and even more recently after Malaysia Airlines’ baby-ban statement, there seems to be a lot of popularity behind not allowing or restricting children from flying. Personally I do not have my own kids, nor am I a big fan of screaming kids on an airline, but it almost seems that is just part of living in a society — being around kids.
I am curious to get your thoughts and figured it is about time for another poll (Note: if you are reading this on the Seattle PI or Reuters synidcation, you will have to go to http://www.airlinereporter.com to vote):
If an airline outright banned all kids, there would probably be a huge backlash , even though it seems most people do not want kids on their flight. An airline like Ryanair might be able to get away with it, but look at all the attention Malaysia Airlines received just from banning kids from first class on only two aircraft type. We will have to wait until October to see if Ryanair’s promises of child-free flights was true or just another marketing ploy and I would suspect many other airlines around the world are watching how the Malaysian ban will work out.
Images: David Barrie and ffc57
Um...what? You are holding this blog upside down.
Tis the season for fooling. It is hard to know what is true and what is not true on this day. Some airlines have really gotten into it and come up with great April Fool’s news stories. Who says airlines can’t have a sense of humor? Here are the ones I have found so far:
* Air New Zealand promoted their new pay per pound program, which I have stated previous, it might actually work
* Ryanair will start child-free flights
* easyJet announced the new royal couple will be flying them and honeymooning in Scotland
* WestJet will be adding helium to their aircraft to reduce weight
* Southwest now is able to travel through time and they brought a video back to prove it
* Air France will start Jupiter flights starting Bastille Day
* Swiss Air Lines will hand out different types of chocolate depending on your flier status
* Virgin Atlantic is to have fresh produce and herbs in upper class
* Virgin America announces Sir Richard Branson buys Pluto and re-instates it as a planet
* JetBlue is to get rid of free snacks, DirectTV, direct flights and more (via @hbaskas)
If you run into any more April Fool’s jokes done by airlines (or airline-related) let me know and I will add it to the list with a little shout out to you.
Ryanair Boeing 737
Yesterday Ryanair “officially” announced that they will start offering child-free flights starting in October. Is this real or another free-publicity tactic by Ryanair? Well, the catch is that Ryanair might be crazy enough to do this. However, the fact that it is April Fools day tomorrow, makes me suspect this might all be a ruse. Also take into account that they have a history of pulling April Fools jokes in the past, from providing moon flights, offering first class seating and selling porn on board, Ryanair has been a fun little jokster.
Don’t get me wrong, this is genius marketing. First you get media outlets to report on the story, creating buzz and free advertising. Then, after it is announced it was a joke, there is another round of free advertising, saying it wasn’t true and how silly Ryanair is being. I was able to get an official copy of the press release, but I haven’t been able to get any confirmation from them that this is an April Fools joke. Sure, maybe this is real, but I am willing to bet that it is not. Since the press release itself is so entertaining, I want to share it with you all:
RYANAIR TO INTRODUCE ‘CHILD FREE’ FLIGHTS
Ryanair, the world’s favourite airlines, today announced that it will introduce ‘Child Free’ flights from October (winter schedule) after a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers showed that half would pay higher fares to avoid other people’s children. The survey showed that a third of passengers (36%) have had flights ‘ruined’ by other people’s noisy kids with one in five passengers (18%) urging Ryanair to restrict the number of children on flights.
While the survey found that passengers would prefer to avoid other people’s children, it placed ‘blame’ firmly with parents with top gripes being:
- 50% Parents who expect ‘special treatment’ because they have children.
- 25% Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind.
- 15% Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them.
- 10% Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling. While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into ‘adult’ and ‘family’ areas it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding. However, with clear demand for ‘child free’ flights Ryanair will introduce child free flights on high frequency routes from the start of our winter schedule in October.”
So what do you think? Real or fake? Would you like to see child free flights?