Will $15 flights be available to American fliers anytime soon?
Airline Ryanair has announced plans to expand its services to fly to a handful of American cities by the year 2020. How long before Americans can expect these low airfares?
Wanderlust may get drastically less expensive in the coming years. That is if Irish airliner Ryanair has anything to say about it.
Within the next three to five years the airline aims to begin trans-Atlantic flights to a select number of cities on both sides of the ocean after the airline's board voted to approve the move, according to the Financial Times. More amazingly, promotional one-way fares could be as a cheap as $15, according to the report.
The one roadblock remains the timeframe it would take for the Irish carrier to get its hands on a long-distance carrying aircraft, which is the latest Boeing Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 jet (The Dreamliner's European competitor). Both long-haul carriers, have had airlines lining up to purchase fleets of the aircraft, according to the Financial Times. This means Ryanair would be at the end of both of these lines and it could take years for long-haul jets to be delivered to the airline.
“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 airline said in a written statement.
These low costs flights could revolutionize how both Americans and Europeans vacation, and open up an entirely new market for long weekend travel, according to the Guardian.
“It would generate new demand. If you can fly people across the Atlantic for a relatively small sum, a lot of people would fly out [to the States] for a long weekend,” Gert Zonneveld, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, a British investment bank, told the Guardian.
According to the Financial Times, the airline would have at least ten European hubs including Dublin, Cologne, Germany, London's Stansted airport, among others. These hubs would service major American cities like Boston, New York, Miami, and Washington D.C, according to the report.
Ryanair may be trying to capitalize on the low-cost market that Norwegian Air Shuttle tried to corner. Norwegian, which already owns a fleet of the Boeing Dreamliner, began flying the lucrative trans-Atlantic route in 2013. However, the airline fell on hard times last year because it does not have high volume of passengers that other major carriers enjoy. Ryanair may have a bigger market share to be able to make this expansion over five years slightly more feasible because they flew 82 million people dating back to March of last year, Norwegian Air shuttle flew 60 million less people over the same span, according to the Financial Times report.
“Ryanair is well equipped to do this, in the sense that it has the pan-European market presence and critical mass needed,” said John Strickland, an independent British air transport consultant told the Financial Times. “The key issues will be to obtain the right aircraft at the right cost and in sufficient numbers, along with offering some type of premium product.”
The Irish Times profiled Irish Taoiseach Edna Kenny's visit to the United States this past weekend to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and was asked what Ryanair's announcement meant for Irish airline Are Lingus, the formerly state-run airline that already connects the Emerald Isle to American airports. "The more connectivity we have with America the greater the opportunity for people to come both ways," Mr. Kenny told the Irish Times.