Ryanair to offer transatlantic flights from £10
The airline we all love to hate, Ryanair, could be set to take over (part of) the world sooner than you’d think, with the Board of the airline approving outline plans to fly between 12-14 European and US cities, on a transatlantic service at rock bottom prices, starting from £10. However, don’t get too excited, as none of this will come to fruition for at least four or five years, not least because Ryanair don’t have any transatlantic planes yet.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that O’Leary has offered the public a vision of a no-frills transatlantic airline offering cheap fares, with some skeptics suggesting that he has never really meant it and was just looking to secure fee advertising with headlines screaming about £10 transatlantic fares. However the disclosure that the board has approved outline plans suggests the company is now serious about proceeding. Which could be very exciting indeed.
Ryanair said: “The board of Ryanair, like any plc, has approved the business plans for future growth, including transatlantic. We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft but cannot comment further on this. European consumers want lower cost travel to the USA and the same for Americans coming to Europe. We see it as a logical development in the European market.”
But others suggest that Ryanair’s American dream has always been genuine, it’s just that they want someone else to have a go first, so they can learn from others’ mistakes. No airline has yet managed to run a profitable transatlantic service offering cheap as chip fares- Sir Freddie Laker’s Skytrain went bust trying during the 1980s. However, in 2013, Norwegian Air Shuttle, the Oslo-based low-cost airline, expanded from short to long-haul flying, with example prices of a one-way ticket from London Gatwick airport to New York of £149. While the company made a loss last year, and only flies to a handful of standard locations in the US, if Norwegian can make a go of it, you can bet your bottom dollar Ryanair will be all over it before you can bat an eyelid.
Norwegian’s prices are currently pitched at around half of rival airline prices, but Ryanair are still talking about £10/€10 flights, although they concede that there will only be a limited number of flights at this price. Other one-way tickets would be priced at £99 or more, and the airline would fill up to half of its seats with more expensive premium spaces, according to Ryanair’s head of marketing, Kenny Jacobs.
And people think Ryanair could actually make a go of it. Analyst John Strickland told the FT that “Ryanair is well equipped to do this, in the sense that it has the pan-European market presence and critical mass needed. The key issues will be to obtain the right aircraft at the right cost and in sufficient numbers, along with offering some type of premium product.”
And the planes are currently the sticking point, with waiting lists and long lead times on both the Airbus 350 and the Boeing Dreamliner planes Ryanair would have to invest in. Which means £10 flights to the States are still a way off.
But the final interesting nugget spilled by Ryanair was that its new transatlantic service would not fly under the Ryanair brand. We do hope O’Leary asks us, its travelling public, to help come up with a suitable name for the new venture…