Ryanair Holdings PLC on Thursday said it agreed to buy 75 of Boeing Co. ’s 737 MAX jets, a boost for the troubled plane maker following the aircraft’s prolonged grounding.
The European budget airline’s deal is worth more than $7 billion at current list prices. Ryanair chose to exercise the option it had to buy additional aircraft on top of 135 it had previously agreed to buy from Boeing.
The Ryanair deal is a reprieve for the struggling Chicago-based aerospace giant, which has lost hundreds of MAX orders amid a nearly two-year grounding following two fatal crashes of the jet——and is now struggling amid a pandemic that has sapped demand for air travel. The U.S. last month approved the MAX for passenger flights again, issuing a set of safety directives and notices to airlines globally.
Michael O’Leary, the airline’s chief executive, said it would accelerate its delivery schedule for the jets, saying the order would help the airline’s growth as travel demand returns. “We’re proud to buy them. We’re proud to fly them,” he said.
As of last month, airlines and aircraft-leasing firms had canceled about 10% of Boeing’s outstanding MAX orders this year. Boeing has said it believes hundreds more of its remaining more than 4,000 orders could be in jeopardy because of the financial health of some customers.