Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, said on Monday that it ended talks with Boeing on a major purchase of 737 MAX 10 jets worth tens of billions of dollars, after a dispute over the price of the aircraft.
The rare decision to go public over the negotiations comes after months of wrangling that had already delayed a deal for the MAX 10s.
In an interview with Reuters last week, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, known for driving hard bargains, said he wanted to make an order but poured cold water on chances of a quick deal.
O'LEARY: "I would hope to reach an agreement with Boeing on MAX 10 pricing. Boeing needs an order. You know you see a lot of its major customers - Southwest and others - are postponing deliveries or cancelling orders. We're certainly very keen to place a MAX 10 order but only when the timing and the pricing is right."
But on Monday, O'Leary said talks had collapsed, adding that he was disappointed an agreement couldn't be reached.
A spokesperson from Boeing also made a statement, saying the company valued Ryanair's business but had to "make decisions that make sense for our customers and our company."
A large new Ryanair order would provide a boost to Boeing as it rebuilds confidence in the MAX, which was grounded for 20 months until November after two fatal crashes.
Ireland's Ryanair, one of Boeing's biggest customers, had dangled a fresh order potentially worth $33 billion at list prices for up to 250 MAX 10 jets, which even after steep industry-wide discounts would still be worth well over $10 billion, according to analyst estimates.
In Monday's statement O'Leary did point out that other Boeing customers had done deals with Airbus. But despite the public row, one senior industry source said that it was "likely that Boeing and Ryanair will eventually cut a deal."