Dublin-based carrier, Ryanair is reportedly in talks with manufacturers, with a view to ordering long-haul aircraft after its board approved plans to begin transatlantic flights.
The airline has said it would like to offer flights between ten European cities and a similar number of US destinations with European bases including Stansted, Dublin, Cologne and Berlin, as well as others in Spain, Italy and Scandinavia.
Flights would connect with US destinations including Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York and Washington, though it could be four to five years before services would start.
Ryanair said: “The board of Ryanair, like any plc, has approved the business plans for future growth, including transatlantic. We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft but cannot comment further on this.”
Although some subsidised promotional fares could cost £10, one-way tickets are likely to be priced £99 or more, with the airline filling up to half its aircraft with more expensive premium seats.
“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,” the company also said in a statement.
Oslo-based Norwegian Air Shuttle began a low-cost transatlantic service from London Gatwick to New York in 2013, though the costs of expanding into the US have caused the airline to lose profit for the first time in eight years.
However, Ryanair’s head of marketing, Kenny Jacobs believes that Ryanair is a bigger brand and business and would therefore be able to build more traffic.
The type of jet Ryanair will use is unclear, though if the airline chooses to place an order for a Boeing Dreamliner, the Irish airline may have to wait several years for any aircraft to be delivered due to the high demand and number of airline customers who have already placed orders for the jet.
Similarly, Airbus has a big order backlog for its A350 jet, so it could be a while until the Ryanair long-haul plan materialises.
The transatlantic route is one of the most profitable in the world, but has been long dominated by well-established airlines such as British Airways and American Airlines. Ryanair has said that its transatlantic flights would not be branded under the company name.
Confirmation of the long haul plans came as the carrier released its winter flying programme three months earlier than last year, covering more than 1,600 routes.
This includes more flights and improved schedules to and from major cities including Berlin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome and Warsaw.
“Ryanair is pleased to launch our biggest ever winter schedule, with more flights, routes and destinations, as we continue to grow Europe’s biggest route network,” said Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.