Ryanair released a statement at the end of last week saying it had no current plans to enter the transatlantic flight market. This was a direct contradiction of a statement made on Monday in which a spokesperson said the budget carrier would be inaugurating transatlantic routes within the next five years.
In Monday’s statement, the spokesperson said the airline’s board of directors had endorsed a plan to fly the Atlantic and it only depended on acquiring suitable aircraft for long-haul flights. The representative added that the plan would eventually see around 12 European cities in addition to a similar number of North American ones linked by Ryanair services.
Ryanair first announced its transatlantic ambitions back in 2008. CEO Michael O’Leary has also stated his aspirations to expand the carrier’s network so that it operates on profitable routes linking the two continents.
Routes across the ocean are mostly operated by scheduled airlines such as British Airways, American Airlines, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic and United Airlines. Low cost carriers have historically had less success and Freddie Laker’s Skytrain and, more recently, Norwegian Air Shuttle have struggled to provide services and make a profit at the same time.
Norwegian Air Shuttle cited battles with civil aviation regulators in the US as one of the reasons it lost money after launching routes to destinations such as Los Angeles and New York. The airline posted losses of NOK1 billion (£83 million) for 2014. Norwegian offers transatlantic fares starting out at US$244 (£163).