Boeing boost as Ryanair places £10bn jets order

Ryanair has placed a £10 billion order with US plane-maker Boeing in a move that the Irish airline claims will create thousands of jobs in Europe.

Promising even lower fares, the no-frills carrier said it was taking 175 of the firm’s popular 737 model as it looks to fly more than 100 million passengers a year by the beginning of 2019.

The deal will see Ryanair increase its fleet to about 400 planes from 300 at present, as 75 aircraft are retired.

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The bumper order for the current-generation 737 – known as the “workhorse of the skies” – delivers a timely boost to Boeing, which last week won US approval for test flights for its grounded 787 Dreamliner. It will also provide it with a smooth transition to its new 737 Max, scheduled to enter service in 2017.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “We are pleased to sign this agreement with Boeing which will expand our fleet to over 400 units, creating over 3,000 new jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers, while allowing us to grow our low-cost airline service by about 5 per cent per annum over the next several years.”

O’Leary has developed a ­reputation for securing heavily discounted aircraft orders ­during industry downturns.

The deal follows news earlier this week that Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air was taking 234 of the A320 family of aircraft made by European plane-maker Airbus.

That contract, worth some £15.8bn, should help secure 5,000 jobs over ten years.