Irish airline Ryanair has agreed to buy up to 200 new Boeing 737 aircraft. The deal will see the low-cost carrier purchase 100 Boeing 737 MAX 200 "gamechanger" aircraft, with an option to buy 100 more.
The deal is said to be worth more than US$22bn (€17bn). It also sees Ryanair become the lead customer for the new aircraft, which will feature 197 seats (8 more than Ryanair's existing 737-800s) and new engines - which will reduce fuel consumption by up to 18% and reduce operational noise emissions by 40%.
The agreement was signed by Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, and Boeing commercial airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner in New York this morning.
Following approval by Ryanair shareholders at an EGM in late November, this order will become Boeing's largest ever aircraft order from a European airline.
Ryanair says it will sustain thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs in Boeing and its supplier companies - and represents the largest ever capital investment by an Irish company in US manufacturing and jobs.
This agreement comes the day before the airlines takes delivery of the first of 180 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The current 180 aircraft order will see its fleet grow from 304 to 420.
Announcing the new order, Mr O'Leary said "Ryanair is proud and honoured to become the lead operator of Boeing’s "gamechanger" 737 MAX 200 aircraft which will expand our fleet to 520 aircraft by 2024 and create another 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers in Europe, while allowing us to grow traffic from 82m last year to over 150m p.a. by FY2024."
"These new "gamechanger" aircraft will allow Ryanair to lower our costs and airfares, while improving our customer experience with more leg room and the Boeing Sky Interior, as we roll out new offers, particularly for our Business Plus and Family Extra customers," he added.
While Boeing's Ray Conner added "The 737 MAX 200 is the perfect fit for Ryanair, providing improved efficiencies, 20% lower emissions, increased revenues and a high level of passenger comfort. The new variant will play a significant role in enabling the airline to continue to expand its operations, while providing passengers across Europe with outstanding value."