Ryanair have the last laugh

Last week Ryanair said that the Board had given agreement to start flights to the US within four years. Then, a few days later, Michael O’Leary stepped in and said it was all a mistake and the airline had no such plans.

Cue a long list of articles in travel business publications claiming that the airline had made fools of themselves.

Actually, the people who had made fools of themselves were these supposedly serious publications that had immediately followed Ryanair’s initial announcement with long, pontificating articles about how Ryanair would be able to shake up transatlantic flights and – even – threaten the future of current major airlines.

As we said when Ryanair made its original “announcement”, there was really very little that was new – just a vague remark that the airline could start flights within a few years. There was no commitment and, as we added, the airline did not have any current orders for suitable aircraft. Ryanair have tossed around this idea so many times. We are quite sure they have many thick files on the subject and periodically set feasibility teams to work. One day, they might well give it a go but there was nothing to suggest that a launch was in any way imminent or even that it was being planned.

As Michael O’Leary once said, you should never believe anything Ryanair say in public. All the so-called experts who broke that rule should feel suitably embarrassed.

Of course, there is one way that Ryanair might start transatlantic flights quite soon. There are vague whispers that they might make a bid for the struggling Norwegian. Ironically, part of the reason for that airline’s problems is its new longhaul network. Ryanair do not normally buy airlines – it is cheaper to watch them disappear and then pick up the routes they want – so we would not place much credence on these rumours. But you never know.

If that happened, the assembled mass of travel business journalists would probably hyperventilate. 


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