herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Ryanair in 5-year plan to fly to 14 US cities

AVIATION

RYANAIR could begin transatlantic flights to as many as 14 US cities in the next five years, under a business plan approved by the board of the airline yesterday.

The Dublin-based airline has begun talks with aircraft manufacturers about long-haul aircraft, a spokesman said.

In a statement Ryanair said it would like to offer flights between 12 to 14 European cities and 12 to 14 US destinations.

The plan to operate across the Atlantic was approved by the company's board as part of a wider business plan for future growth.

Ryanair said transatlantic flights are a "logical development in the European market". The plan depends on access to viable long-haul aircraft, and is estimated by Ryanair to be four to five years away.

tickets

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said in January that he would be "disappointed" if he can't offer one-way tickets to America for an average of about €90.

However, the airline chief executive admitted he probably would not initially target Irish fliers as part of the new service.

Mr O'Leary said that a Ryanair sister company operating services between Europe and the United States would sell one-way economy tickets for an average of about €90.

"If we wanted to get into the pan-European transatlantic market, then starting in Dublin would be the wrong place to start. It's a tiny market," he said. "We'll need something in the order of 30-50 aircraft," said Mr O'Leary, adding that a long-haul service was at least five years away.

"We're not interested in doing something small scale."

Such fares would transform the transatlantic airline market and play havoc with carriers such as British Airways and Lufthansa.

While Mr O'Leary has previously said any Ryanair long-haul offshoot could offer €10 one-way fares, he conceded that there would only be some tickets available at that price.

Asked by what the most likely average fare would be on Ryanair transatlantic routes, Mr O'Leary said he'd still be able to offer one-way tickets for under €100.

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