Ryanair is increasing firm orders for new larger capacity Boeing 737 MAX-200s by 25 aircraft worth $3 billion.

By exercising existing options with the US manufacturer, Ryanair now has 135 total firm orders for the 197-passenger aircraft with deliveries due to start in the first half of next year.

The so-called ‘gamechanger’ aircraft will cut fuel consumption by up to 16% and reduce noise emissions by 40% while increasing seats capacity by 4% over existing 189-seat Boeing 737-800s in the Ryanair fleet.

The Irish low-fares carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet with an average age of six and a half years.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ global sales and marketing senior vice president, Ihssane Mounir, said: “We are delighted that Ryanair has decided to order an additional 25 higher capacity 737 MAX 8s as it continues to significantly grow its fleet and increase capacity across its network.

“The 737 MAX 8 with 197 seats is undoubtedly the best possible airplane for the low-cost market and today’s increased order with Europe’s leading low cost airline is testament to that.”

Ryanair chief financial officer, Neil Sorahan, said: “We are pleased to exercise 25 Boeing 737 options, bringing our firm orders to 135 737-MAX-200’s with a further 75 options remaining.

“The gamechanger has eight more seats than our current 189 seat Boeing 737-800NG and incorporates the latest technology engines and winglets which will reduce fuel consumption and noise emissions, ensuring we remain Europe’s greenest, cleanest airline, while allowing us to continue to lower fares as we grow to 200 million annual customers by 2024.

“We look forward to taking delivery of our first gamechanger in spring 2019.”