Ryanair buys 175 jets in plan for €10 transatlantic flights

Ryanair marked its first ever attendance at an airshow by signing a deal to buy 175 Boeing 737-800 jets and hinting it may buy another 200 Boeing planes by the end of the year.

Ryanair chief executive Micheal O’Leary said that if the airline wanted to offer transatlantic flights for €10 it would need a fleet of at least 30 planes.

Speaking at the Paris Airshow, Mr O’Leary said he was considering ordering up to 200 Boeings 737 Maxs.

After signing the largest single order ever placed by a European airline — $15.6bn (€11.6bn) for 175 Boeing 737-800 jets — Mr O’Leary said he had a team in place working with Boeing on a deal for 200 more planes.

He said if the order was not at least 200 planes, “it wouldn’t be worth doing”.

The Ryanair team is expected to report by the end of September and it is possible the airline could place an order for the planes by the end of the year.

Ryanair’s interest in the 737 Max stems from its 19% greater fuel efficiency over its rivals, resulting in a reduction of 8% in costs per seat, according to Boeing.

However, Mr O’Leary hinted that the airline was giving serious consideration to rival Airbus’s A320, though Ryanair has not purchased any Airbus jets and the European planemaker has repeatedly dampened the idea.

Mr O’Leary said the company had a unique opportunity to crack the transatlantic market and offer passengers fares of €10 or $10 to fly to the US.

To take advantage of the opportunity the airline would require a fleet of 30-50 twin-aisle aircraft to serve hubs in both Europe and the US.

“There is an opportunity with the EU-US open skies to, on a fairly big scale, connect 15-20 European cities with 15 of the big US cities, almost from day one,” Mr O’Leary said.

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