By: Rich Tomaselli
The board of directors for Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has approved a plan to begin flying trans-Atlantic routes to the United States – yet another foreign carrier who could create competition for the domestic carriers on one of the most lucrative routes in the world.
“Could” being the operative word.
It remains to be seen whether Europe’s version of Spirit Airlines can pull off such a financial undertaking, although clearly the move by the board indicates it has long been in discussions about the idea.
“We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft but cannot comment further on this,” Ryanair said in a statement. “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.”
A preliminary outline would have Ryanair flying to the U.S. in four or five years’ time. According to the Financial Times, the airline’s board has approved outline plans to fly between up to 14 European cities and the same number of US cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami London Stansted, Dublin and Berlin.
U.S. airlines are currently engaged in a battle with several foreign carriers who handle international routes to America, notably the three major Middle East Gulf carriers in Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. In a joint 55-page report sent to officials from the Obama administration, American, Delta and United airlines accused their three counterparts of accepting $42 billion over a 10-year span in government subsidies.
It doesn’t appear that domestic carriers have the some kind of issue with Ryanair, although another entry into the trans-Atlantic derby is certainly not welcome news, particularly from a low-budget airline.
But, again, Ryanair still has to figure out how to make it work where other low-cost airlines from Europe have failed.
“We’ve seen what others have done, we’ve listened and observed what’s gone on in the past 12 months and now have a better view on how we’d like to launch it and market it,” Ryanair director of marketing Kenny Jacobs told the Financial Times.
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