BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Ryanair's CEO, Michael O'Leary, confirmed ongoing discussions with Boeing to potentially acquire a minimum of 100 new aircraft, emphasizing the necessity for substantial discounts to secure a deal. 

The conclusion of this dispute is crucial, as Ryanair is Europe's leading budget airline and one of Boeing's largest customers. 

Approximately 18 months ago, during the COVID-19 crisis, Ryanair discontinued negotiations for at least 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets due to pricing disagreements. O'Leary announced on Wednesday that Ryanair is now considering both the 200-seat 737 MAX 8200 and the 230-seat 737 MAX 10, provided the pricing conditions are satisfactory.

A potential agreement encompassing 100 aircraft, with an additional 100 options, could require several months of negotiation, O'Leary said at the A4E airline conference in Brussels.

O'Leary also anticipated that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration would certify the 737 MAX 7, Boeing's smallest model, in the first half of 2023, while the MAX 10 would receive approval from U.S. regulators by the end of the current year.

In 2021, O'Leary accused Boeing of attempting to impose an unrealistic price increase, resulting in a "marital rift" between Ryanair and its long-time exclusive supplier.

Industry insiders highlighted the disagreement as an examination of differing perspectives on the post-COVID recovery rate, with Boeing's confidence bolstered by renewed MAX sales following a safety crisis and Ryanair's willingness to be patient.

O'Leary disclosed that negotiations had resumed after Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Stan Deal, head of the company's commercial division, approached Ryanair two months ago. He estimated that a deal might take six to nine months to finalize.

O'Leary expressed support for Calhoun, hoping that Boeing's management would stabilize over time, as the company experienced a challenging period of delays.

"I think Calhoun is putting together a good team, and we would like to see that team stabilize over a number of years, and we could get back to kind of normal for doing business relations," 

O'Leary said.