European low-cost airline Ryanair has signed an agreement with The Boeing Company to purchase 175 new Boeing 737-800 jets.
When finalized, Ryanair’s new Boeing 737-800 deal will be worth nearly $15.6 billion at current list prices and will be posted to the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website as a firm order.
According to Ryanair, the deal will allow the carrier to grow to more than 400 aircraft, carrying more than 100 million passengers per year across, by the end of the delivery schedule in 2018.
The agreement was signed by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President CEO Ray Conner in New York on March 19.
Upon approval by Ryanair’s shareholders, the purchase will become Boeing’s largest deal to date in 2013 and will be the largest-ever aircraft order from a European airline.
It will sustain thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs in Boeing and its supplier companies and will represent the largest-ever capital investment by an Irish company in U.S. manufacturing and U.S. jobs, according to Ryanair.
The new Boeing 737-800 jets will create more than 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers at Ryanair’s growing number of aircraft bases across Europe.
Approximately 75 of the new aircraft will replace some of Ryanair’s 305 existing Boeing 737-800s, but the airline says the remaining 100 aircraft will drive new growth of Ryanair’s fleet.
These aircraft will allow Ryanair to grow its low-cost airline service by about 5 per cent per annum over the next several years, which Ryanair says should increase its traffic to over 100 million passengers by March 2019.
Ireland-based Ryanair also says that, as it continues to plan its future as Europe’s largest low-cost airline, it continues to evaluate the benefits of the new Boeing 737 MAX family, which enters service in 2017.
“Ryanair is proud to buy Boeing, who have always made great aircraft and the 737-800 has been the cornerstone of Ryanair’s success due to its great engineering and phenomenal reliability,” says O’Leary. “These 175 new airplanes will enable us to lower cost and airfares even further, thereby widening Ryanair’s cost and price leadership over other airlines in Europe.”
O’Leary continues: “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.”
Adds O’Leary: “Ryanair has the largest fleet of Boeing airplanes in Europe, and today’s order will enable Ryanair to expand and grow by offering more competition, lower prices, and better choice across the continent of Europe. Ryanair is proud to be investing in high-quality US manufacturing and jobs.”
Ryanair’s big order follows a period of three business days in which Airbus announced consecutive huge order commitments for its Airbus A320 family of single-aisle jets.
On Thursday, March 14, Airbus announced that the Lufthansa Group supervisory board had approved a new order for 100 A320-family aircraft, 70 of them A320neo-family jets. This order has yet to be finalized.
Then, on Friday, March 15, Turkish Airlines announced a firm order for 82 A320-family aircraft, most of them A321neos. The Istanbul-based carrier also optioned an additional 35 A321neos.
On Monday, March 18 came an Airbus order which puts even Ryanair’s massive Boeing 737-800 order in the shade.
Indonesia’s Lion Air, until now an all-Boeing customer for its mainline fleet (though Lion Air has ordered 60 ATR 72 turboprops for its regional-airline subsidiary Wings Air) and the customer responsible for Boeing’s single-biggest order, announced it had placed a firm order for 234 Airbus A320-family jets, the majority of them A320neo-family aircraft.
Airbus put a value on the Lion Air deal of well over $21 billion at list prices.
The new Lion Air Airbus order just beats its 230-aircraft Boeing firm order of February 2012 for size (though the Lion Air deal did also include options on another 150 Boeing single-aisle jets) and now represents the largest single order ever placed by an airline.
However, the largest group of commitments announced by an airline in terms of aircraft numbers involved remains American Airlines’ summer-2010 orders and commitments for 925 single-aisle aircraft.
This group of firm and conditional deals included firm orders for 130 Airbus A320-family and 130 A320neo-family aircraft, along with 100 Boeing 737-800s and 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. (Incidentally, this last deal forced Boeing to launch the 737 MAX program earlier than it had wanted.)
American’s group of deals also included commitments for 365 more Airbus A320-family and A320neo-family aircraft, as well as commitments for 100 more Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX jets.