12 April, 2007:Ryanair plans to launch transatlantic flights with fares as low as $12 within four years.
The Irish no-frills airline´s chief executive Michael O´Leary told aviation industry magazine Flight International that he is looking to serve six US cities from European airports where it has bases.
He was quoted as saying the cheapest flights for US passengers would be $12 but revenues would be increased through the sale of food, duty free goods and in-flight entertainment.
The airline would operate independently from Ryanair and offer a premier class on the transatlantic services.
Ryanair would acquire up to 50 widebody Airbus A350s or Boeing 787s to operate the routes.
Secondary US airports identified include Baltimore, Providence , Rhode Island; and New York Long Island Islip Macarthur.
The carrier will be able to enter the prized North Atlantic arena following the EU-US open skies agreement due to come into force from the autumn.
The prospect of Ryanair´s aggressive price-led, extreme low-cost model competing on transatlantic routes will send off alarm bells at traditional carriers which will struggle to compete.
Ryanair´s business model has so far been based on fast turnaround, short haul flights in Europe - industry insiders doubt whether this model can be adapted for long haul routes where operating costs are far higher.
But O´Leary was quoted as saying: "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 to connect these bases transatlantically. There would be no-one to touch us."