Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX was thrown a lifeline by European low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair which ordered 75 of the narrowbodies that have been grounded for almost two years after two crashes killed 346 people. The deal could be worth as much as US$9 billion before the standard discounts are applied.
The deal gives Boeing a critical line of support as it tries to restore confidence in the company. In addition to its MAX woes, Boeing has suffered quality control problems at is plants in the US on both the civilian and military sides of the business. The MAX was recently cleared to retake to the skies by the US Federal Aviation Administration while European regulators granted preliminary approval. Approvals are still outstanding in places like China.
Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dave Calhoun said on a media call that his company had updated Ryanair on the Max’s progress every few weeks and that the expanded order represents a vital vote of confidence. “We have had one rough year,” Calhoun said. “This is a story of faith. Belief and faith in the future of our industry.” He pledged to “continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers.”