AIRSHOW-UPDATE 1-Ryanair CEO says working on Boeing 737 MAX order

Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:48am EDT

* Ryanair could order 200 or more 737 MAX

* Ryanair says could make order by end of year

By Alwyn Scott

PARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - The head of low-cost carrier Ryanair said on Wednesday that the airline could order 200 or more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft by the end of the year, though the timing was not certain.

Michael O'Leary said at the Paris Airshow that if the order was not at least 200 planes, "it wouldn't be worth doing."

The purchases would be "all growth" and not replacements for aircraft currently in Ryanair's all-Boeing fleet.

The 737 MAX is Boeing's answer to the Airbus A320neo, a new version of the European planemaker's best-selling model using more fuel-efficient engines. Boeing earlier brought forward the plane's entry into service by six months to the third quarter of 2017, almost two years after the A320neo.

O'Leary said a senior team was working on a 737 MAX order and that the airline was giving serious consideration to rival Airbus' A320neo jet, though Ryanair has not purchased any Airbus jets and the European planemaker has repeatedly dampened the idea.

The CEO spoke to reporters after signing a $15.6 billion contract to buy 175 Boeing 737-800 jets, the largest single order ever placed by a European airline with Boeing.

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