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Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.

  • "This vaccine came a long a little faster than most folks thought, which means our timeline for recovery is a little more aggressive today" than the three to five years that officials feared back in the spring, Boeing CEO David Calhoun told reporters Thursday.
  • "I am confident that this is a signal of a more robust order book," adding that airlines in the strongest financial position, like Ryanair, would lead that faster recovery.

Details: With the new purchase, RyanAir is bringing its total order for 737 Max planes to 205, worth $22 billion.

  • Michael O'Leary, CEO of the low-cost Irish carrier, has called Boeing jet a "gamechanger" because its design allows the airline to carry more passengers and burn less fuel.
  • Ryanair received a "modest discount" on the new planes, he said, adding that the favorable economics would boost the airline's growth and profitability over the next five years.
  • "Vaccines are coming in the first quarter of next year," an upbeat O'Leary said. "There is going to be a very strong recovery. I have been waiting for this aircraft for 5 years."

Driving the news: United Airlines also announced this week they would use the 737 Max planes in two of its largest hubs starting in 2021. Likewise, American Airlines will start commercial flights on the plane between LaGuardia and Miami in late December.

The bottom line: After what Calhoun called "one tough year," Ryanair delivered a spark of hope.

Go deeper

Jul 10, 2020 - Economy & Business

Airline recovery falters before it even gets off the ground

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Any hope for a rebound in air travel this year has vanished, with coronavirus cases surging in much of the U.S. and some states imposing quarantines to keep visitors away.

Why it matters: The airline industry is already suffering the worst crisis in its history. The soaring infection rates mean planes will be grounded even longer, putting tens of thousands of people out of work in the coming months.

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.