Ryanair boosts Boeing with order for 175 aircraft
BY CHARISSE JONES March 19, 2013 7:02AM
(FILES) In a file picture taken on September 1, 2010 an airplane of the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair takes off from Barcelona's airport. Irish low-cost airline Ryanair on March 19, 2013 announced that it has ordered 175 Boeing 737-800 airplanes worth 15.6 billion USD (12.1 billion euros) at catalogue prices. AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGOJOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images
Updated: April 21, 2013 6:23AM
NEW YORK — Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, said Tuesday it intended to order 175 new jetliners from Boeing, the largest order the U.S. plane maker has had this year and its biggest order from a European carrier.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said the new jets will let it move into European markets that have been losing service as larger airlines restructure.
The announcement of the $15 billion deal for Boeing’s 737-800 Next-Generation jetliners comes a day after Boeing’s chief rival, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, won an order of more than 200 planes from Indonesia’s Lion Air.
It also gives a boost to Boeing, which has been under scrutiny since the Federal Aviation Administration and other regulators grounded its flagship 787 Dreamliner on Jan. 16 after two incidents in which a battery either caught fire or began to smolder.
“There’s no doubt the 787 has been a major distraction in recent weeks and months,” O’Leary said. “And yet while they’re dealing with those issues, those regulatory issues, they’ve still been able to negotiate one of their largest aircraft orders this year.”
He added that “there’s almost never been a new aircraft introduced into service that hasn’t had some problems at the intro.”
Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, agreed that the company is carrying on while dealing with the Dreamliner’s problems.
“We’ve got a lot of people working on the battery situation, and we’ve got to keep the business going,” he said, adding that they’re continuing to deliver 777s and other aircraft, as well as continuing to work on the 787. “We’re continuing to produce on the 787 while we get the battery situation resolved, and we will get it resolved very soon.”
Boeing has said it should complete testing on the redesign of its lithium-ion batteries in a week or two, after which the FAA will review the findings before allowing the Dreamliner to resume carrying passengers.