Ryanair performs perfect volte-face over transatlantic flights announcement

On Monday 16th March, in an interview reported in the Financial Times, Ryanair confirmed that its board had approved plans to go ahead with the long-anticipated development of transatlantic flights. It also confirmed that Ryanair was in discussion with manufacturers for new aircraft to launch a service covering a network of somewhere between 12 to 14 cities on either side of the Atlantic. It has long been known that Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, has wanted to offer long-haul services. However four days later and all seems to have changed with an announcement from Ryanair to the London Stock Exchange concerning the company’s volte face: “In the light of recent press coverage, the Board of Ryanair Holdings Plc wishes to clarify that it has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so.” The reason for this second statement was put down to the need to make clear that there had been an element of “miscommunication” concerning Kenny Jacobs, the airline’s Director of Marketing. The miscommunication was compounded by the fact that Tuesday was St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, so while news began to spread of the supposed board approval for transatlantic flights, nobody was available until Wednesday to refute them, by which time the story had gathered momentum. However, while the decision clearly was not made, nothing has actually changed with regard to Ryanair’s desire to enter into the transatlantic market. However plans have always been for such routes to be offered by a separate company with a separate brand which would be disassociated with a name synonymous with low cost no frills travel.

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