Boeing Commercial Airplanes has drawn an order worth as much as $20 billion from Ryanair, the European budget airline that is one of the OEM’s top customers. It is the largest aircraft purchase in the 37-year history for Ryanair, which is replacing older jets and seeking to gain more market share. And the order could grow to total 300 new jets if all the options are exercised.
Ryanair was the European launch customer for the 737 MAX, having ordered 210 737 MAX 8s in 2014. The new order involves the larger 737 MAX 10 – not yet certified for commercial operation – with room for 228 passengers and offering what Boeing calls “the best unit economics of any single-aisle airplane.”
According to Ryanair's Group CEO Michael O'Leary, the new aircraft are intended to replace older 737 Next Generation aircraft in its fleet.
O'Leary also noted the new aircraft would create 10,000 new positions as Ryanair expands its presence in the European commercial air sector.
The new aircraft are expected to be delivered to Ryanair between 2027 and 2033.
The 737 MAX is a series of twin-engine narrow-body aircraft that is in service mainly for high-volume passenger service. While it is Boeing’s best-selling model, the new order is an important boost for the 737 MAX program, which is continuing to regain market share since it was returned to service following an 18-month grounding due to two catastrophic accidents.
The 737 MAX 10 will be the largest variant in the series, and it will have a maximum range of 3,300 nautical miles. Boeing has logged over 850 orders for the MAX 10, including from major carriers like United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
The MAX 10 is expected to gain airworthiness certification later this year.
The new order also apparently resolves a pricing dispute between Boeing and Ryanair, which in 2021 backed out of a reported 250-jet contract before it was finalized.
"The Boeing-Ryanair partnership is one of the most productive in commercial aviation history, enabling both companies to succeed and expand affordable travel to hundreds of millions of people," stated Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun. "Nearly a quarter century after our companies signed our first direct airplane purchase, this landmark deal will further strengthen our partnership. We are committed to delivering for Ryanair and helping the airline group achieve its goals."