Ryanair, a discount airline that is popular, and infamous, in some circles, has announced recently that it is considering establishing ultra-discounted cross-Atlantic flights. Some believe these flights, which are at least four years away from fruition, could be as astoundingly cheap as $10 per one-way ticket. Ryanair known for its unconventional business practices could simply be trying to garner attention. Regardless, the prospect of this new competition strikes fear into some of the largest European airlines given the difficulties they are already experiencing maintaining revenue in their continent and abroad.
Officials from the Dublin-based airline, confirmed that the Ryanair board approved these plans. Company leadership sees this opportunity as the logical next step as the demand for cheap airfare between Europe and America is higher than ever.
The more nimble airlines are already offering airfares around the $100 mark, but it remains to be seen if Ryanair can make their business model operate effectively on a truly global scale. Another discount European airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle currently operates flights to America including six major cities from European cities such as Stockholm, Copenhagen, and the outskirts of London. Norwegian Air Shuttle offers one-way tickets as low as $240. The Icelandic Airline, WOW, the Canadian Airline WestJet, and Lufthansa are already offering similarly cheap tickets from Europe to America. However, analysts are uncertain how sustainable these offerings are given the difficulties to make a long-term profit charging such a low fee.
Cheap long-distance flights have long been immensely appealing to airlines, but are a tricky ordeal for a number of reasons. The combination of balancing costs, managing logistics, and making the planes comfortable enough for long flights has proved difficult to master. Analysts point out that, while young travelers may be willing sacrifice comfort, those travelling for business are unlikely to opt for such flights. In response to this, Ryanair officials have stated that it would begin to offer business class and premium seating, breaking from the one-class seating model it has employed for years.