Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.
The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.
- "This vaccine came a long a little faster than most folks thought, which means our timeline for recovery is a little more aggressive today" than the three to five years that officials feared back in the spring, Boeing CEO David Calhoun told reporters Thursday.
- "I am confident that this is a signal of a more robust order book," adding that airlines in the strongest financial position, like Ryanair, would lead that faster recovery.
Details: With the new purchase, RyanAir is bringing its total order for 737 Max planes to 205, worth $22 billion.
- Michael O'Leary, CEO of the low-cost Irish carrier, has called Boeing jet a "gamechanger" because its design allows the airline to carry more passengers and burn less fuel.
- Ryanair received a "modest discount" on the new planes, he said, adding that the favorable economics would boost the airline's growth and profitability over the next five years.
- "Vaccines are coming in the first quarter of next year," an upbeat O'Leary said. "There is going to be a very strong recovery. I have been waiting for this aircraft for 5 years."
The bottom line: After what Calhoun called "one tough year," Ryanair delivered a spark of hope.