Airline Orders 27 Boeing 737s to Cut Fuel Costs, Add Routes

Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe's largest low-cost airline, said Thursday it has ordered 27 Boeing Co. planes valued at $1.9 billion to lower fuel costs and add new routes.

The planes will be delivered in 2009 and 2010, Ryanair said. The airline plans to buy a total of 308 of the 737-800 model planes from Chicago-based Boeing. Its fleet will grow to 262 jets by 2012 as older, less fuel-efficient aircraft are retired.

The carrier has options for an additional 40 Boeing 737-800 planes until 2012 and 70 thereafter. Ryanair has no interest in converting the options to buy Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, said Chief Financial Officer Howard Millar.

"We're a 737 operator," said Millar. "We have no plans to buy anything else at this time."

Ryanair has worked with Boeing since 1993, when the aircraftmaker lent the company $17.5 million to buy six Boeing 737-200 planes. The company phased out the 737-200s in favor of 737-800s about two years ago.

"Boeing took a bet on Ryanair in 1993," said Millar. "They were prepared to touch us when we were a pariah low-fare regional carrier from Ireland."

Ryanair now has the world's second-largest fleet of Boeing planes, after Southwest Airlines.

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