Category: Archive

Ryanair to go the long haul?

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Taking advantage of the “Open Skies” deal between the European Union and the U.S., the airline says it intends to set up a new subsidiary to fly between 23 European bases and the U.S.
The fares are likely to cost considerably more once taxes are included, but would still be expected to undercut current prices.
“We’ve been approached by a number of airports in the US who are very keen to see us start a long-haul, low-fare service and we’re working on plans to start flying the Atlantic,” Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told reporters on Thursday during a flight from Dublin to Germany.
Replicating the strategy it developed in Europe of favoring secondary airports — with which the airline often does direct deals instead of using main city airports like Heathrow in London or Charles de Gaulle in Paris, which it says are more expensive — the airline is understood to be planning to fly into airports such as Long Island in New York, Rhode Island in New England and Baltimore in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
The Irish airline also is planning to operate to other U.S. destinations including Dallas, Florida and San Francisco.
The airline, which has pursued a relentless and seemingly unstoppable campaign of expansion since it began as a single-plane operation between Waterford and London in 1985, hopes to be operating from 23 European bases by mid-2009. The airline believes the scale of its operations will give it significant leverage with aircraft manufacturers. This, combined with the “Open Skies” deal, which deregulated trans-Atlantic air travel and is due to come into force from March 2008, makes a long-haul operation feasible for the first time, O’Leary told the Irish Times.
“I think the economics never stacked up but the difference with this is it would run side by side with Ryanair,” he said. “Because we have low-cost airports at this end and also in the U.S., we feel we could run a transatlantic operation far cheaper than anyone else, such as the legacy airlines which have huge costs and inefficient airports.”
Ryanair says it intends to buy a fleet of up to 50 long-haul planes to allow the service to start within to three to four years, but is planning to wait for price of aircraft to fall after a current surge in plane orders.
O’Leary told London-based aviation business magazine Flight International: “By mid 2009, we will be carrying 70 million passengers at 23 bases across Europe. It will be relatively straightforward for us to do a deal for 40 to 50 long-haul aircraft and connect these bases trans-Atlantically. There would be no-one to touch us.”
Flight International says that Ryanair’s new operation would operate a fleet of 50 mid-size Airbus A350s or Beoing 787s. Breaking with the airline’s no-frills approach, it would also offer a premium class, pitching itself against leading U.S. and European carriers.
Although wholly owned and ultimately controlled by Ryanair, the new company would be run separately, with its own board and executives, and a different corporate identity and without cross-ticketing or luggage transfers. However Ryanair would use its use its leverage with manufacturers, airports and suppliers to assist the trans-Atlantic airline, he added.
“Ryanair won’t have any investment in this long-haul airline,” O’Leary told the Irish Times. “There are a lot of investors who are very keen to see a long-haul, low-fares airline operate transatlantic services. If Open Skies goes ahead, based on aircraft orders in the middle of 2009, we could go out and raise

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese