Ryanair finalises mega Boeing order, says could buy more
The head of Ryanair flew into the Paris Air Show on Wednesday to finalise an order for 175 Boeing 737 planes worth $15.6 billion at list prices, and said he hoped to buy more planes from the US firm by the end of the year.
"We are delighted to finalise this order," Michael O'Leary told reporters.
"They (planes) provide Ryanair with the additional capacity to exploit substantial growth opportunities that now exist as many of Europe's flag and regional airlines are restructuring and are reducing their short-haul operations."
The deal, worth 11.65 billion euros, follows an order by easyJet, the main rival to Ryanair, for 135 Airbus A320 planes on Tuesday.
O'Leary said that 75 of the planes would replace existing aircraft in Ryanair's fleet, while the 100 others would be add-ons to the low-cost carrier, which currently carries about 80 million passengers a year.
O'Leary said that this figure should increase to 100 million passengers within the next five years.
He also said that the Irish carrier could acquire about 200 Boeing 737 MAX medium-haul planes, a modernised version of the 737 that should come into service in 2017.
"A senior team of Boeing and Ryanair management are working on the MAX project and have been tasked to report to us by the end of September," he said. "We'll be hopeful that we reach an agreement on the price of the MAX some time before the end of the year."
O'Leary however did not exclude acquiring Airbus's A320neo -- the direct competitor to Boeing's 737 MAX.
He said the two planes would no doubt both be similarly fuel-efficient, but added the MAX could carry nine more passengers than the Neo.
© 2013 AFP