Michael O’Leary said Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the right aircraft for a no-frills trans-Atlantic airline as he continues to muse publicly about so-far inconclusive plans to launch a new long-haul airline.
Mr. O’Leary said he wants to start the business in three to four years but said the current five-year backlog on deliveries of the wide-body jet was holding up his decision to go ahead.
The comments from the outspoken boss of the Irish budget airline come as Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian Air plans to start flying its fleet of 787s from hubs outside its home bases in Norway, including flights to the U.S. from Gatwick, London’s second-largest airport, from next summer. Ryanair’s main U.K. bases is Stansted, the British capital’s third-biggest airport.
The first no-frills long-haul low-cost trans-Atlantic carrier was Laker Airways, when it began flights from London to New York in the Seventies, but it went bankrupt in 1982. Zoom had a go in 2007, but it too went out of business.
Mr. O’Leary said he would launch a long-haul business using a different brand and connecting 10 European cities, excluding London and Dublin, with 12 of the big U.S. cities almost from day one. O’Leary has previously said that fares for flights between Europe and the U.S. could start from 10 euros – not including baggage fees and extras.
As for Ryanair itself, Mr. O’Leary said the airline is stepping up its efforts to attract business travellers partly by focusing more on customer service. Ryanair is known for its no-frills onboard service and heavy charges for passengers who don’t observe its strict check-in and bagage procedures.
“We need to communicate our product to business passengers which make up 27% of our traffic”, Mr. O’Leary said.