Ryanair aims to grow traffic to more than 100 million passengers a year as it confirmed a deal for 175 new Boeing aircraft worth $15.6 billion.

The budget airline expects to create more than 3,000 jobs as the fleet grows to more than 400 aircraft by the end of the new deliveries of next generation 737-800s in 2018.

The purchase will become a record deal for Boeing this year and the largest from a European airline.

About 75 of the new aircraft will replace some of the existing fleet of 305 B737s, while the remainder will drive growth of about 5% a year, taking Ryanair carryings to more than 100 million passengers by March 2019.

Ryanair said it continues to evaluate the benefits of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft which enters service in 2017.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “These175 new airplanes will enable us to lower costs and airfares even further, thereby widening Ryanair’s cost and price leadership over other airlines in Europe.

“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.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive Ray Conner said: “This purchase agreement is an amazing testament to the value that the next generation 737 brings to Ryanair.

“We are pleased that the next generation 737, as the most efficient, most reliable large single-aisle airplane flying today, has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of the Ryanair fleet.”