Ryanair reveals $15.6bn Boeing order

Irish airline Ryanair has agreed to purchase 175 new next generation 737-800 airplanes from Boeing, as the low-cost carrier looks to expand its operations.

Following the completion of the $15.6bn (£10.3bn, €12bn) deal, the airline will have more than 400 airplanes with traffic growing to more than 100 million European passengers per year by March 2019. The order is expected to be fully delivered in 2018.

Further, the new airplanes will create more than 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers. The order would help offer lower prices and better choice across Europe, according to Ryanair.

Out of the new aircraft, about 75 will replace some of Ryanair's existing fleet of 305 Boeing 737s, and the remaining will increase the company's fleet.

Ryanair currently operates over 1,500 flights per day from 53 bases across 28 countries. It has a fleet of over 290 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft with firm orders for a further 13 new aircraft to be delivered over the next year.

"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. 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," Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said in a statement.

"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."

The purchase deal, which is subject to approval by Ryanair's shareholders, will become Boeing's largest deal to date in 2013 as well as the largest ever aircraft order from a European airline.

The new order comes as Boeing's entire fleet of Dreamliner 787 aircraft were grounded due to apparent problems with the lithium-ion batteries used on its jets. Following an approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration to test a proposed fix, Boeing is working hard to solve the battery issue and expects to resume commercial operations of the fleet as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Boeing's European rival Airbus has struck a record €18bn deal with Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air for 234 jets. The contract replaces a deal Lion Air had entered in 2011 with Boeing.