Aid for Ryanair’s US routes if they get off the ground

Sunday April 15th 2007

RYANAIR’S new transatlantic offshoot can expect lucrative incentives in Ireland and the US when it launches new routes to the US, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Michael O’Leary’s tough bargaining style is likely to deliver State job-creation grants, marketing support and other incentives, amounting to millions of euro.

A spokesman for the Dublin Airport Authority confirmed that route discounts of at least €12 per passenger would be offered on a long-haul route.

“Discounted passenger charges are also currently offered on short-haul routes at Cork and Shannon airports, but airlines can expect higher incentives on long-haul routes. We also offer a small grant towards marketing support,” he added, stressing that they are offered to all airlines on a transparent basis.

Factoring in these incentives allows the airline to offer one-way fares for as little as €10. O’Leary hopes the no-frills Ryanair spinoff will start flying to east coast routes such as Long Island and Baltimore in four or five years.

It emerged last month that Aer Lingus had been offered €8.4m to establish a direct route to Baltimore Washington Airport, while a former Ryanair director of ground operations, Charlie Clifton, helped to launch a new Ohio base for low-cost airline Skybus last year, which received incentives of $16m (€12m).

O’Leary’s plan, however, could be delayed by up to seven years due to aircraft supply constraints. He said he may use either the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 to launch the new service.

One high-profile industry source told the Sunday Independent that even orders placed now for both aircraft types might not be filled until at least 2014.

Much of the current Boeing 787 production has been snapped up by carriers such as Qantas, Singapore Airlines and All Nippon. The A350 will not begin rolling off the production line in Toulouse until 2010 at the earliest.

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