Ryanair says price still key to new Boeing jet deal


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BRUSSELS, March 29 (Reuters) - The boss of European budget carrier Ryanair RYA.I said on Wednesday attractive discounts remained the key to securing a new plane deal with Boeing

Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told Reuters that Ryanair was looking at two models: the roughly 200-seat 737 MAX 8200, which is already "performing well," and the larger 737 MAX 10, which is still in development and awaiting certification.

A potential deal for 100 planes, plus 100 options, is likely to take several months to negotiate, he said in an interview on the sidelines of an A4E airline industry conference.

He also said he expected the 737 MAX 7, Boeing's smallest model, to be certified in the first half of 2023 and the MAX 10 to win approval from regulators towards the end of the year.

Ryanair is looking for a significant discount for the 30 extra seats contained in the 737 MAX 10, the largest single-aisle model currently marketed by Boeing, to avoid diluting yields, or average revenue per seat, he said.

Talks resumed after Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun and Stan Deal, head of its commercial division, approached Ryanair two months ago offering to get negotiations started again, O'Leary said. Boeing could not immediately be reached for comment.

"They are back talking to us; I think it takes maybe six, nine months to get a deal done," O'Leary said.

The Ryanair CEO voiced support for Calhoun and said he hoped Boeing's management would stabilise "over a number of years" following a spate of corporate and industry crises, adding the company had been through a rough patch on delivery delays.

Ryanair is one of Boeing's largest worldwide customers.

In September 2021, it said it had halted talks for an order of the 737 MAX 10 because of a pricing dispute. O'Leary told the Financial Times last week that talks had resumed.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Jan Harvey and Mark Potter)

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