Tuesday 11 December 2018

Ryanair ups new Boeing jet order in €2.4bn deal

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has agreed to buy more Boeing 737 Max – aircraft it dubbed a ‘game changer’
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has agreed to buy more Boeing 737 Max – aircraft it dubbed a ‘game changer’
Michael O'Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Conor Humphreys

Ryanair yesterday agreed to buy a further 25 Boeing 737 MAX planes, worth $3bn (€2.45bn) at list prices, lifting its total order for the planes to 135.

Ryanair was already the largest operator of Boeing planes in Europe. In 2014 the airline signed a record order for 100 737 MAX planes, with an option to buy up to 100 more.

Ryanair, which currently operates around 430 Boeing 737 planes, says the MAX order will allow it reach its target of carrying 200 million passengers per year by 2024.

However, the airline has previously struggled to roster enough pilots as its capacity has increased, and was forced to cancel thousands of flights in the final months of last year.

The decision to exercise more of its purchase order is likely to be seen as a signal Ryanair management is confident it can continue its ambitious expansion policy.

Ryanair has already expanded into countries such as Israel and Ukraine.

CEO Michael O'Leary said in March that he expects to exercise "pretty much all" of its options.

The latest order leaves it with 75 more purchase options. It bought 10 additional MAX planes in June last year, which were on top of the 2014 order.

Ryanair has dubbed the MAX a "game-changer" for its business, due to a fuel consumption improvement it says could be up to 16pc and a greater number of seats.

The configuration Ryanair has ordered has 197 seats compared to 189 in its current fleet of 737s. Ryanair rivals easyJet and Wizz have ordered Airbus A321 planes, which seat up to 239 passengers. Ryanair has held talks with Boeing about its new larger version of the 737 airliner, the MAX 10, which can carry up to 230 passengers, but has made clear it would only be interested if the price is lowered.

The first of Ryanair's 737 MAX planes are due for delivery in the first half of 2019 and will use CFM Leap-1B engines.

Meanwhile, after the fallout from last year's Ryanair rostering issue led to the company recognising trade unions for the first time, it has emerged Ryanair made an offer last week to formally recognise labour union Verdi to represent cabin crew in Germany, the union has said.

"We welcome this first step toward collective bargaining," said Verdi board member Christine Behle.

"A reform of working conditions for cabin crew at Ryanair in Germany is urgently needed," she added.

Ryanair has been in talks to formalise union recognition in several European countries since its decision in December to recognise unions forthe first time in its 32-year history.

Ryanair shares ended yesterday down just over 1pc at €15.485 each.

Irish Independent

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