Ryanair is the world’s largest airline per passengers served. They have a massive fleet in the sky and fly to a mind-boggling amount of destinations all across Europe. But none of which are across the Atlantic.
Ryanair is the largest low-cost carrier in Europe, reaching 220 destinations across the continent. Most of the destinations are very small airports and regional centres between major cities. They absolutely dominate the skies of Europe with their low capacity single-aisle planes and you would assume that they are quickly running out of new destinations to fly to, but the US is one area yet to be conquered.
The reason Ryanair hasn’t touched down on American soils is that they only operate a fleet of 464 Boeing 737-800’s, which have a range of 5,436 km. Unfortunately, London to New York is a range of 5,567km, just shy of the limit of the 737. None of their planes would be capable of crossing the Atlantic, they would need an entirely new fleet (such as an A380).
In 2015, the airline industry took a collective breath when Ryanair announced they would run Atlantic flights for as little as £10, once Ryanair had secured the right planes.
“A fleet of 30, 40, 50 aircraft and not two, four or six would be needed.” said Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary”
But this plan never eventuated and the fact fell back into rumour. With Ryanair buying another 100 737maxs recently we know now more than ever that them doing it themselves is not likely.
Partnership with Air Europa
In 2017, Ryanair started a partnership with Air Europa, offering flights to Latin America from Spain via their website. Whilst, not international routes run by Ryan Air, it was the first step for customers to continue their Ryanair journey overseas.
“Ryanair operates over 50 short-haul routes to/from Madrid and now our customers can book flights on Air Europa long-haul routes to destinations including Buenos Aires, Havana and New York”
The flights leave Madrid and go to 20 destinations across the Americas, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the US. But this is not the only partner that Ryanair, and its 90 million customer database, is seeking.
“We continue to speak to a number of other long-haul airlines about potential connecting flight partnerships and we look forward to offering our 130 million customers an even greater choice and range of long-haul services in 2018”
We could possibly look forward to Ryanair partnering up many different other airlines to provide services to other destinations such as Africa, Australia and to Asia. So far we have seen no action on Ryanair’s behalf to combat the services that Norwegian Air or its competitor LEVEL is providing in the long haul low-cost space. For a comparison, Norwegian Air currently offers the flight from Europe to America for only $200.
Airline industry observers are waiting to see if Ryanair will ever purchase any long-haul planes and if they do, then we know they are just about to compete on the international transatlantic stage.