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Ryanair is close to unveiling a landmark $15 billion order for around 170 passenger jets from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The order for current-generation 737 aircraft delivers a boost to the U.S. company, which also won U.S. approval for test flights for its grounded 787 Dreamliner on Tuesday.

Reuters reported exclusively in late January that Ryanair was closing on a deal for at least 150 current-generation 737NG passenger jets to be completed within weeks.

A Ryanair spokesman on Tuesday said the company did not comment on “rumor or speculation.”

The company has said it is in talks with Boeing about a large deal that would likely be signed later in the year. In January, it denied that a deal was imminent.

A Boeing spokeswoman said the company did not discuss customer order negotiations as a matter of policy.

Boeing and Airbus are upgrading their medium-haul passenger models to offer about 15 percent fuel savings from the middle of the decade, raising the prospect of bargains on the outgoing models to help manufacturers ensure steady production.

The industry benchmark 737-800 model is worth $89.1 million at list prices, but large orders attract steep discounts and industry appraisers value the plane closer to $40 million.

The Irish Independent said a deal for 200 planes would be announced at a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the White House during an annual reception to mark St. Patrick’s Day.

A spokesman for the Irish prime minister declined to comment on the Irish newspaper’s report.

The large order will help Boeing achieve a smooth transition between old and new models while trying to keep production steady, address sing a key priority for suppliers and investors.

Boeing’s stock rose 1.5 percent on Tuesday to close at $84.16.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries and Tim Hepher,; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford and Jan Paschal)

Tags: Boeing, ryanair
Photo Credit: Passengers board a Ryanair plane parked at Girona airport, September 20, 2012. Albert Gea / Reuters