Dublin, March 20 (IANS/EFE) Irish budget airline Ryanair Holdings said Tuesday it has signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase 175 737-800 airliners for $15.6 billion (12 billion euros).
In a statement, Ryanair said the deal would allow it to expand its fleet to more than 400 airplanes by 2018, when the last of these jets are to be delivered, and boost the airline’s traffic to more than 100 million passengers by March 2019.
The low-cost carrier currently has a fleet of 305 Boeing 737 passengers jets, 75 of which will be replaced by the new aircraft.
The purchase agreement – which Ryanair said was the largest-ever aircraft order from a European airline – was signed in New York by Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary and Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner.
According to Ryanair, the deal will create more than 3,000 new jobs across the airline and sustain thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs at Boeing and its suppliers.
Although the agreement still must be approved by Ryanair’s shareholders, O’Leary said the Boeing 737-800s have been the “cornerstone” of the airline’s success thanks to their “great engineering and phenomenal reliability”.
These aircraft are capable of transporting between 162 and 189 passengers on short- to medium-haul flights and are equipped with luxury features such as leather seats and Wi-Fi.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Ryanair had opted to purchase the 737-800s instead of the Boeing 737 Max, a new family of aircraft currently under development.