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Ryanair's CEO Still Dreams of the $10 Transatlantic Flight

Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary at a press conference on April 10 in Bratislava, Slovakia
Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O'Leary at a press conference on April 10 in Bratislava, SlovakiaPhotograph by Vladimir Simicek/isifa via Getty Images

Michael O’Leary is back to musing on transatlantic flights. In comments that one may chalk up to his usual rhetorical, er, expansiveness, the Ryanair Holdings chief executive says he’d like to commence flights to America in a few years—and with $10 fares. The comments echoed those O’Leary offered at an infamous June 2008 news conference during which he claimed his long-haul operation would offer 10-euro ($13) fares in coach and truly exceptional customer service in business class. A quick stroll with the Ryanair boss down an off-color memory lane:

Ryanair then issued a press release to tout the popularity of the online video of O’Leary’s vision. Flash-forward five years, and those hypothetical U.S. flights are still tickling O’Leary’s entrepreneurial fancy. “Unfortunately, the challenge is there’s no availability of long-haul aircraft,” he said this week on Bloomberg TV’s Money Moves. Finding the right big jet is hardly the only challenge, as O’Leary surely knows. The costs involved with transcontinental flights would be the biggest hurdle. For proof, look no further than the moribund history of such efforts.