May 10, 2023: Ryanair said it plans to buy at short 150 Boeing 737 Max 10 planes with options for 150 more after a price dispute derailed negotiations for the large order in 2021.
It’s the budget carrier’s most significant order and the manufacturer’s latest sizable deal for new planes as airlines replace ageing jets and grow their fleets.
Shares of Boeing were up close to 2% in late-morning trading Tuesday after the company reported the order, while the broader market was down.
Ryanair plans to operate the Max 10s, which regulators still need to certify, with 228 seats on board.
The 150 planes in the firm order are worth over $20 billion at list costs, but airlines generally receive significant discounts for such big sales. Ryanair stopped negotiations for a big Max order in September 2021 over the pricing dispute.
“In our view, it will never be cheap enough, and in Boeing’s view, it’s always far too cheap,” Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said at a press conference.
The planes will replace older 737 jets in Ryanair’s fleet. The aircraft will likely be delivered between 2027 and 2033, O’Leary said. He said that the 150 additional jets it has optioned would allow it to fly more than 300 million passengers a year by 2034 and would create 10,000 jobs by then.
According to a company report, the ultra-low-cost airline flew 97 million passengers in the 12 months ended March 31, down from 149 million before the Covid pandemic.
The budget carrier’s order is the latest in a string of big sales for Boeing, which has reached agreements to sell hundreds of planes to customers, including Air India, Saudia and United Airlines in recent months.
Boeing’s next challenge is ramping up production of the 737 Max. Last month the company said it aims to make 38 each month, up from 31. The company plans to open a fourth production line for the best-selling plane and increase rates to 50 a month in 2026.
As the Covid-19 pandemic eased, supply chain struggles have hamstrung both Boeing and Airbus production goals.
Delivery delays have vexed airline executives trying to capitalize on the travel rebound. On Tuesday, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun said that current customer demand would support rates “significantly higher” than the company planned. Still, supply chain issues are preventing further expansion.
On Tuesday, Boeing said it delivered 26 aircraft, down from 64 a month earlier. Eighteen of those deliveries were 737 planes. The company had warned that a production flaw on some 737 Max jets would delay deliveries on specific models.