NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Ryanair (RYAAY) , the low-cost European carrier, has partnered with Boeing (BA) to purchase up to 200 Boeing aircraft, an order worth a total of $22 billion. The 737 MAX 200, the latest in Boeing's 737 MAX family, offers 11 additional seats of potential revenue and uses 20% less fuel, two factors Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary says will boost the company's return on investment.
"The extra seats are worth about $1 million [each] a year to us in additional revenue which will flow straight to the bottom line," he told TheStreet, following a press conference in New York City. "The engines have up to 20% fuel efficiencies which is a huge saving. Last year we spent about 1.5 billion euros on fuel."
The latest order, which Ryanair will begin taking delivery of in 2019, will increase the airline's annual traffic from 82 million to 150 million over the next decade. The airline currently operates only Boeing aircraft.
The Ireland-based carrier's multibillion-dollar investment is the first for Boeing's latest model in the 737 MAX family of aircraft which have been on the market since 2011. The larger short-haul aircraft have proven successful with more than 2,200 orders since their launch, the success of which has helped Boeing eke out advantages over main competitor Airbus.
"We have more seats, we have more range to fly higher, fly further and carry more capacity," Boeing CEO and President Ray Conner told TheStreet. "We're about a 12-seat advantage over them today and... it drives a lot of efficiencies. The operating costs are about 6% lower than the A320 Neo."
By midafternoon, Ryanair shares were flat at $57.73, while Boeing had leapt 2.7% to $128.04.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.