Ryanair Weighing Goal of $10 Trans-Atlantic FlightsLeslie Picker
Ryanair Holdings Plc Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary, who has previously floated standing cabins and pay toilets on his planes, is now dangling the idea of Europe to U.S. flights for $10.
“We’d love to exploit European-U.S. open skies,” O’Leary said yesterday in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves” with Scarlet Fu. “There may be an opportunity to do $10 fares across the Atlantic.”
O’Leary, 52, is known for pitching radical price-cutting suggestions at Ryanair, the largest low-cost carrier in Europe. Some would carry the industry’s passion for fees to an extreme, such as charging one euro ($1.31) to use a lavatory. Others, such as his suggestion to get by with one pilot instead of two, would run afoul of safety regulators.
The biggest holdup to O’Leary’s $10 trans-Atlantic plan is that Dublin-based Ryanair lacks any of the larger single- or twin-aisle aircraft usually used on long over-water routes. The airline’s fleet is all Boeing Co. 737s, and Ryanair’s network chiefly covers Europe, with a few cities in Africa.
Earlier this year, Ryanair agreed to buy 175 Boeing 737 jets worth $15.6 billion at list price. Last week, at the Paris Air Show, O’Leary said a team evaluating Boeing’s 737 Max model will report back by the end of September, paving the way for an order that may run to more than 200 of the narrow-body planes.
Ryanair fell 4.9 percent to 6.85 euros in Dublin trading yesterday. The shares have gained 45 percent this year.
Ryanair is focused on offering bargain-basement fares rendered profitable through the use of secondary airports and a minimum level of customer service. That strategy has propelled the carrier from 1.7 million passengers in 1994 to 79 million last year, with the company targeting 100 million by March 2019.
When asked how Ryanair could afford to charge $10 for a flight from Europe to the U.S., O’Leary said, “brilliantly talented management.”