Ryanair to Retrofit Entire 737-800 Fleet with Scimitars
Airlines Innovation Technology

Ryanair to Retrofit Entire 737-800 Fleet with Scimitars

DALLAS – Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR) announced that the company will begin a massive €200m operation to retrofit all its Boeing 737-800 fleet with split scimitar winglets, the successor wingtip design of the Boeing Next-Gen program. The airline has a fleet of 516 aircraft, of which 79% are the 737-800 variant.

The Ryanair Holding Group, which published last month its best-ever profit in a quarter, is confident that this step will help reduce the fuel burn of their aircraft by 1.5%, saving the airline an enormous amount of up to €60m every year.

The retrofit operation is expected to begin this winter. The airline shared no details on how long the wingtip conversion of its 408 Boeing 737-800 aircraft would take.

Ryanair also operates a single unit of the 700 series, registered as EI-SEV, but this one has been destined exclusively for pilot and crew training, so it is unlikely that this airplane will also be part of the retrofit.

Similar to the Boeing 737 MAX, the scimitars differ from the standard winglet by refining their shape by adding a lower wing to the structure. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

Fuel, Nº1 Cost for Airlines

On every airline’s financial results publications, the pattern remains the same: fuel is always the number one operation cost. In FR’s case, in the first half of 2022 results, the company stated that all the costs related to fuel burn added up to €1.29bn, 47% of the overall costs.

Because of that, and due to the strategy of low-cost airlines of amazing cost reduction, investing in fuel-efficiency solutions is some of the best deals FR could get, as we explained here.

With the new deliveries of the Boeing 737 MAX generation, FR proudly announced a 14% cut in fuel burn and 40% in noise emissions. It should be noted that Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800 fleet doesn’t feature engine noise silencers in order to reduce the costs of propulsion plant maintenance.

Featured image: Francesco Cecchetti/Airways

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Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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