Irish low-fare carrier Ryanair on Tuesday committed to buying 175 new Boeing 737-800NGs worth nearly $15.6 billion at current list prices. The deal, still subject to confirmation, supports Ryanair’s plan to expand the size of its uniform fleet of 737-800s from 305 to some 400 airplanes and serve more than 100 million passengers per year across Europe by the end of the delivery stream in 2018. Ryanair estimates that the fleet addition would create some 3,000 jobs for pilots, cabin crew and mechanics at the airline
Plans call for some 75 of the new airplanes to replace some of Ryanair’s aging 737s while the rest serve to expand Ryanair’s service by about 5 percent a year through March 2019.
Signed by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary and Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner in New York, the contract remains subject to approval by Ryanair’s shareholders. According to Ryanair, it would amount to the largest ever aircraft order by a European airline and represent the largest-ever capital investment by an Irish company in U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Ryanair said it continues to evaluate the new Boeing’s 737 MAX, scheduled to enter service in 2017.
“These 175 new airplanes will enable us to lower cost and airfares even further, thereby widening Ryanair’s cost and price leadership over other airlines in Europe,” said O’Leary. “They provide Ryanair with the additional capacity to exploit substantial growth opportunities that currently exist as many of Europe’s flag carrier and smaller airlines are restructuring and reducing their short-haul operations.”