My personal view, having looked at this from both sides is that an Airbus order is most likely - if for no other reason than that 17 A320s must be cheaper than 27 737s!
That said, the US issue weighs heavily on my mind. I am very anxious to see EI
increase its long haul routes and also, aware that the 333s can't go on forever. This is a wonderful aircraft, don't get me wrong, but it was ordered when circumstances were very different. More 332s will be needed, but this is not inconsistent with a Boeing widebody order.
Don't forget that although both manufacturers are now focused on the s/h order, they are aware of Aer Lingus's US plans and EI
is also aware of the likelihood that the EU/US negotiations may not be concluded for another 2-3 years. So where does that leave them? At the mercy of the US authorities. Anyone who thinks politics won't play a role here is deluding himself.
And don't think that if EI
decides to go Boeing, the Irish govt will lift a finger to help Airbus. The government is just as anxious as EI
to open new routes and develop new tourism revenue. Furthermore, Boeing will be aware of EI
's plans and will be able to tailor a fleet plan to help them along. The 7E7 will make an excellent 332 replacement when the time comes and don't forget that Boeing has said that the 7E7 launch orders won't necessarily come from the US or Japan.
So, to contradict what I said above! Yes, 17 320s will be cheaper than 27 737s, BUT you have to look at the long term requirement!