The total value of the deal, including the 135 that it had previously ordered, is $22 billion.

Ryanair expects to take the first deliveries of the aircraft from early 2021.

The airline will receive all 210 of the 737 MAXs over a four-year period between spring of next year and December 2024 and described the new planes as a “gamechanger” for the airline.

It said the new planes, when delivered, will be the most audited and most regulated in aviation history.

Today’s Ryanair order throws a commercial lifeline to the embattled US planemaker Boeing after regulators lifted a 20-month safety ban.

Ryanair said it will use the new planes to grow its services into new EU countries and markets.

It also said it has agreed compensation for the direct costs incurred by Ryanair over the past 18 months due to the delay in the delivery of the first 135 aircraft in the order, after the jets were grounded over safety concerns.

Some of this compensation has been factored into a “modest” reduction in the pricing of the new aircraft order, Ryanair added.

The airline’s group chief executive Michael O’Leary said today’s deal is a great signal from Boeing and Ryanair of their confidence in the recovery of air travel in Europe over the next five years.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News, he said it is important to see more aircraft flying into Dublin, Shannon and Cork airports in order to get the country’s air traffic and tourism moving again.

He called on the Government to roll out vaccines quickly within the first quarter of next year, and said incentives are necessary at main airports to encourage traffic to recover.

Traffic can recover next year, he added, but only on the back of lower prices.

Mr O’Leary said Ryanair is looking to 2021 and 2022 with optimism.

The travel industry will recover, he said, but the question for Ireland is how quickly it will recover.

The announcement came after the 737 MAX staged its first post-grounding flight with media on board yesterday, as carriers seek to demonstrate to passengers that the redesigned jet is safe after a 20-month safety ban.

Boeing’s best-selling jet was grounded in March 2019 after two crashes in five months killed a combined 346 people including Irish aid worker, Mick Ryan.

His wife Naoise criticised the Ryanair decision to do a deal with Boeing over the MAX aicraft.

She claimed that Boeing still had not been held to account for the crashes.

Boeing’s President and CEO Dave Calhoun said that Ryanair will continue to play a leading role in the aviation industry when Europe recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic and air traffic returns to growth across the continent.

“We are gratified that Ryanair is once again placing its confidence in the Boeing 737 family and building their future fleet with this enlarged firm order,” Dave Calhoun said.

“Boeing remains focused on safely returning the full 737 fleet to service and on delivering the backlog of airplanes to Ryanair and our other customers in the new year,” the Boeing CEO said.

“We firmly believe in this airplane and we will continue the work to re-earn the trust of all of our customers,” he added.

Boeing shares were trading around 7.5% higher in early afternoon trade in New York.

Ryanair shares closed around 2.7% higher in Dublin this evening at €16.22 per share.