Ryanair has signed a purchase agreement with Boeing for 75 new 737 Max-8200 aircraft.
The deal increases the budget airline’s order for the aircraft from 135 to 210, with a total value of over US$22 billion.
The Boeing Max aircraft was certified by US authorities to return to service last month, and Ryanair expects to take its first deliveries from early 2021 with 50 joining the fleet next year.
Revised delivery dates will see the rest of the aircraft added by the carrier between spring 2021 and December 2024 as it replaces some of Ryanair’s older Boeing NGs.
Ryanair, which expected to carry more than 150 million passengers a year before the Covid crisis hit, has agreed an undisclosed level of compensation from Boeing for the costs it has incurred as a result of the delay to delivery of the Max.
The Irish airline said the 197-seat aircraft is a “gamechanger” and will be more efficient in terms of adding more seats, making less noise and reducing fuel consumption by 16%. It believes the Max will be “the most audited, most regulated in aviation history” when it returns to the skies, because of previous crashes that led to its flight ban.
Ryanair said it is the “perfect-sized platform” to allow the carrier to expand and grow its low-fare services across Europe over the next decade, and help it return to growth across Europe in 2021.
Boeing president and chief executive Dave Calhoun said: “Ryanair will continue to play a leading role in our industry when Europe recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and air traffic returns to growth across the continent. We are gratified that Ryanair is once again placing its confidence in the Boeing 737 family and building their future fleet with this enlarged firm order.
“Boeing remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers in the new year. We firmly believe in this airplane and we will continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers.”
Ryanair’s Group chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We are pleased and proud to place this enlarged order with Boeing, who have successfully completed the return to service of the Boeing Max aircraft. The Boeing Max is a fabulous aircraft with more seats, more leg room, lower fares, lower fuel consumption, and it sets incredible environmental standards, including 40% less noise and lower CO2 emissions.
“We hope to take delivery of at least 50 of these aircraft in 2021, subject to Boeing recovering its manufacturing output to deliver them. For as long as the Covid-19 pandemic depresses air travel, we will use these new aircraft to replace some of our older Boeing NG fleet, which will remain grounded until pre-Covid demand returns. But as soon as the Covid-19 virus recedes – and it will in 2021 with the rollout of multiple effective vaccines – Ryanair and our partner airports across Europe will – with these environmentally efficient aircraft – rapidly restore flights and schedules, recover lost traffic and help the nations of Europe recover their tourism industry, and get young people back to work across the cities, beaches, and ski resorts of the EU
“We sincerely thank our partners in Boeing, who have worked closely with us over the last 18 months to reschedule aircraft deliveries, to provide fair compensation to reflect those costs which Ryanair has incurred through these delivery delays and to agree this new enlarged aircraft order. We are working closely with Boeing and our senior pilot professionals to assist our regulator EASA to certify these aircraft in Europe, and to complete the training of our pilots and crews across our three new Boeing Max simulators in Dublin and Stansted.”
O’Leary also thanked shareholders for supporting a €1.25 billion fundraising, “without which we could not have placed this large but very timely aircraft order”.