Ryanair hopes to be flying into 12 to 14 cities in the US in around five years, with its long-awaited transatlantic expansion only hinging on more long-haul aircraft becoming available for purchase.
The airline yesterday launched its 2015 winter schedule, which further extends its reach across Europe. It also reiterated its long-term plans to expand to North America.
Back in January, upon updating the carrier’s fleet plans, chief executive Michael O’Leary said Ryanair was unlikely to make headway on its transatlantic plans inside five years due to neither Boeing nor Airbus having significant availability of long-haul craft and their current stocks being pre-sold up to the early 2020s.
The “game-changing” deal which Ryanair recently made with Boeing will see 200 new 737 Max 200 jets start being delivered in four years. This could, technically, get Ryanair to the east coast of the US, but the vessels would not have the fuel capacity to go further. Mr O’Leary said the airline is talking to Boeing about potential further orders to properly service Ryanair’s longer-term North American plans.
A spokesperson for the airline reiterated yesterday that the board has approved the company’s business plans for future growth, with the mooted transatlantic offering forming part of this.
“We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft, but can’t comment further on this,” said the spokesperson. “European consumers want lower-cost travel to the US and the same is true for Americans coming to Europe. We see it as a logical development in the European market.
“We would like to offer low-cost flights between 12-14 European cities and 12-14 US cities. The business plan is there, but it is dependent on attaining viable long-haul aircraft and we estimate that’s four to five years away.”
Mr O’Leary has previously opined that it should be possible for Ryanair to offer a service to North America at an average rate per passenger of less than €100, somewhere between €85 and €95.
Ryanair will use its Boeing order to significantly boost its European foothold to include new markets such as Turkey, Russia, and Egypt, as well as Middle Eastern destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Israel.
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