UPDATE 2-Ryanair ends long wait for 'gamechanger' Boeing 737 MAX jet

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DUBLIN, June 16 (Reuters) - Ryanair finally took possession of its first Boeing 737 MAX jet after a delay of more than two years on Wednesday, saying that it would have 12 of the ‘gamechanger’ aircraft in time for this year’s summer peak.

The Irish airline is the largest European customer for the jet, which was grounded for 20 months after two fatal crashes, with 210 firm orders of the 197-seat MAX200 model.

Ryanair was initially due to take delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX two years ago

“We are delighted to take delivery of our first new technology Gamechanger aircraft,” Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said in an emailed statement.

The aircraft registered to Ryanair was expected to land on Wednesday afternoon in Dublin, after the airline took possession of it earlier in Seattle.

Ryanair said it expected to take delivery of 12 Boeing 737-8200s this summer, with 6 delivered in Ryanair colours and 6 in Malta Air colours. It expects an additional 50 to be delivered before summer 2022.

The airline has announced repeated delays to the arrival of the jet in its fleet, cutting its planned deliveries in time for use in summer 2021 from 40 to 16 to possibly zero.

In May, Ryanair said it feared it would not take delivery of the first 737 MAX aircraft until after its peak summer period and that the airline was “quite upset with Boeing”. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Additional reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Jan Harvey and Alexander Smith)