Speaking yesterday, the airline’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said a major factor in the timing of a North American service would be the strengthening in supply of suitably sized aircraft, although, he added, “there’s still a lot to do in Europe”.
While the leader in European short-haul, Ryanair only has a 13% share of the market (its inspiration, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines controls 30% of the US market) but hopes to double that over the next five years.
When asked if that meant no move on North America within that time, Mr Jacobs said “probably, but if the opportunity arises, you never know”.
He added: “We don’t have to do it [a transatlantic offering] but we’d like to. We have the demand, we have the airports and we have the business model, but we still need the aircraft.”
In terms of Ryanair’s ongoing European expansion, the airline’s management noted yesterday they have been overrun with growth offers from primary European airports, with many national carriers upping their long-haul offerings and cutting short-haul capacity.
“These airports need low cost carriers; they need us. It’s a good time to grow,” noted Mr Jacobs.
He added that Ryanair will continue to build its number of bases and destinations around the continent and noted there are only four airports (Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle, Schiphol and Frankfurt’s main airport) that don’t tally with Ryanair’s model.
“Every other airport holds possibilities for us,” he said.
Despite the current obvious unrest, Ryanair still has firm plans to expand into Russia. But closer to home, the airline still has no plans to grow further out of Cork, where growth has ceased and passenger numbers have plateaued at 860,000, while Shannon grew by 300,000 last year. Airport charges remain the issue for Ryanair in Cork.