Ryanair has announced a deal worth $22bn (£13.6bn) for up to 200 Boeing 737 MAX 200 aircraft, which will offer more seats, 18pc fuel savings and allow the low cost airline to almost double in size over the next decade.
The budget airline said the new aircraft will be a “game-changer” and will allow it to carry 150m passengers a year by 2024, up from 82m currently. Ryanair had previously forecast that it would carry 120m passengers annually by 2019 but the order will boost its fleet from around 300 at present to 520 by 2024.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s colourful chief executive, said the new aircraft will have 197 seats, eight more than its current aircraft, and will crucially reduce fuel costs by 18pc. The configuration of the aircraft will also offer passengers more leg room, he said.
Speaking at a press conference in New York, Mr O’Leary said: “I feel like a child who has woken up on Christmas morning unwrapping his presents and finding out that Santa Claus has given him exactly what he has asked for.
“This is the aircraft we have been waiting for in Ryanair for probably 10 years now. It is going to mark a step change in improving Ryanair’s efficiency.”
Mr O’Leary declared that the model will likely usher in a “new era” of price wars in Europe when Ryanair takes delivery of the first aircraft in 2019. The budget carrier intends to pass the cost savings on to passengers through lower fares. Like previous price wars, Ryanair would win against its rivals, the aviation boss boldly declared.