Irish budget airline Ryanair today announced a landmark deal with US plane maker Boeing to buy 175 jets for $15.6 billion (£10.3 billion).
The purchase will significantly expand Ryanair’s fleet to more than 400 planes, allowing it to fly about 100 million extra passengers a year by the time the last aircraft has been delivered in 2018.
The carrier said the deal is the largest-ever order from a European airline and will create more than 3000 jobs for pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
The order for current-generation 737 aircraft gives a much-needed boost to Boeing, which has struggled in recent months after the grounding of its 787 Dreamliner, mainly because of battery problems.
Although Ryanair is increasing the number of flights it offers in Europe, it announced plans this month to reduce ones from Stansted by 9% in the next year. Ryanair had planned to raise the number of flights to and from the Essex airport by 5% from April, but will now cut 170 flights across 43 routes a week because of increased fees at Stansted.
The reduction means 1.1 million fewer Ryanair passengers a year will travel through the airport. The airline claims that could cause the loss of up to 1000 jobs there.