Handelsblatt Exclusive

Ryanair Drops Trans-Atlantic Plans

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Ireland-based Ryanair operates the majority of its services from the United Kingdom, but this is likely to become more difficult when the U.K. leaves the European Union.

  • Facts


    • Michael O’Leary has overseen Ryanair’s expansion from small regional airline to Europe’s busiest.
    • The airline had in the past expressed interest in starting trans-Atlantic flights.
    • Mr. O’Leary’s ambition is to make Ryanair flights free and instead raise revenue from ancillary services such as food and advertising.
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Michael O’Leary für EU Verbleib
Michael O'Leary was vocal in his support of Britain remaining in the E.U. during the Brexit campaign. Source: Philip Hollis/Ryanair/dpa

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary has ditched plans for his Ireland-based airline to start trans-Atlantic flights.

The manager cited a shortage of suitable aircraft as the main reason behind the decision.

He said last year that trans-Atlantic flights were postponed for the next few years, but his comments to Handelsblatt suggest a more definitive stance on long-haul routes by Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers.

“We no longer have plans to do trans-Atlantic,” Mr. O’Leary said. “Long haul is gone off. At the moment there are no aircraft available. Even if you could find an aircraft, there are none available for the next four years.”

In an exclusive interview with Handelsblatt, he also slammed the populist wave sweeping the United States and the United Kingdom as “insanity” and warned that isolationism would have economic consequences for both countries.

“Some kind of collective insanity has taken place over the last year, with Theresa May becoming prime minister by accident, Donald Trump is in the White House,” Mr. O’Leary said.

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