Ryanair set to order ‘dozens’ of Boeing 737 Max planes at huge discounts

Regulators have cleared aircraft, which was grounded for 20 months following crashes

Ryanair has already committed to buying 135 of the craft, and has an option to take a further 75.  Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Ryanair has already committed to buying 135 of the craft, and has an option to take a further 75. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

 

Ryanair is said to be close to confirming an order for “dozens” of Boeing’s 737 Max in a deal likely to feature deep discounts on the aircraft’s €100 million list price.

The Irish giant has already committed to buying 135 of the craft, which regulators have certified after a 20-month grounding on safety concerns, and has an option to take a further 75.

Reports quoting US industry sources said on Wednesday that the Irish carrier was close to placing an order for dozens more of the craft.

The news would boost Boeing, whose reputation suffered in the controversy following regulators’ decision to ground the Max in March last year. Neither party commented.

Ryanair has already signalled that it was interested in buying more aircraft to add to its 470-strong fleet.

The Irish group has been in talks with Boeing over compensation for delays in delivery of the 737 Max, the first of which it was due to receive last year.

Market analysts believe that this, combined with likely poor demand for new aircraft as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, will give Ryanair leverage to negotiate deep discounts on the $125 million (€104 million) list price for the Max.

Cost advantage

Ryanair is one of Boeing’s biggest customers. Analysts say a heavily discounted deal would boost its cost advantage over rivals, including Easyjet, which recently sold and leased back some planes as part of its efforts to combat Covid-19’s impact on travel.

Reports on Wednesday said a deal with the Irish giant, Europe’s biggest airline, would be “seen as a pivotal moment in efforts by Boeing to rehabilitate the troubled 737 Max, once its fastest-selling model”.

The jet was grounded in March 2019 following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in which a total of 346 people died, spawning multiple investigations.

Additional reporting: Reuters