Irish budget carrier Ryanair is not commenting on a report that it is set to announce a long-awaited order for up to 200 Boeing 737s on 17 March.

The report, carried by the Irish Independent, does not cite sources.

But it suggests the order will be confirmed by US president Barack Obama and prime minister Enda Kenny at the White House on St Patrick's Day. A spokeswoman for the airline says it does not comment on rumour or speculation.

If confirmed, it would bring an end to Ryanair's lengthy quest for new aircraft. The airline, which has built much of its growth over the last decade on its huge deal with Boeing for 737-800s in 2005, first began talking about a big aircraft order in 2008.

But it has struggled to complete a deal, despite efforts to draw other manufacturers into the competition.

Airbus recently stated that it was not in discussions with Ryanair over its aircraft plans.

Ryanair took the last of the 737-800s from its 2005 order at the end of last year, growing its fleet to more than 300 of the type.

The report does not give details of whether Ryanair would order last-of-the-line 737-800s - in which the carrier has previously shown an interest - or variants of the re-engined 737 Max.

Ryanair had previously been discussing a possible acquisition of the Chinese-built Comac C919, and assisting the airframer with development of the twinjet.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news