The idea that Ryanair, the Irish budget carrier (and one of my most disliked airlines) would fly to the USA seems to have been raised noisily every other year since 2007. The proposal is always that there will be ultra low cost economy (coach) fares starting at $US15 and a business class service. The transatlantic services would operate under different branding to the main carrier.
This same transatlantic idea is then quietly retired each and very time. It almost seems like a free publicity strategy by the carrier to increase its current passneger load (currently 90million per year).
On Monday 16th March, 2015, this unequivocal announcement came from the carrier:
“The board of Ryanair have 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.”
Media sources reported that the airline would operate from ten European cities (including Berlin, Dublin and London Stanstad) to between 12 and 14 US Cities including Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York and Washington DC.
On Thursday 19th March, the airline said this in a very brief statement released to the London Stock Exchange yesterday:
In the light of recent press coverage, the Board of Ryanair Holdings Plc wishes to clarify that it has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so.
- Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary said the airline had “f***ed up”, describing the original statement as “a miscommunication”
- Did they jump the gun? Ryanair have not placed orders for any long haul aircraft with any manufacturer.
- Were they trying to take over a transatlantic carrier? It has been aiming at Aer Lingus for years.
- Were they being mischievous? After all, this is the airline who hinted at making customers pay for lavatories.
- Was it a St Patrick’s Day marketing stunt designed to drive passengers to their relatively new US website?
Ryanair last year renewed O’Leary, their CEO, until 2019 so I expect more of these transatlantic hints and announcements. Not convinced I will see the carrier flying to the USA by then. Don’t wait for those $US15 flights.