PARIS: Ryanair chief keeps long-haul dream alive

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Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has confirmed that the transatlantic low-cost airline he hopes one day to launch will not be branded as the Irish budget carrier or be led by the same management.

"It won't be done as Ryanair, because it would distract everybody," he said at the Paris air show. "The management in Ryanair would all want to be in New York. The cabin crew would want to be in California. Nobody would want to go to Luton four times a day when they could go to San Diego and stay there for the weekend. It would be a separate company, not Ryanair."

But while O'Leary "would love to do a transatlantic low-fare airline", he cautions that "until the backlog of deliveries on the long-haul aircraft is worked through  both by Airbus and Boeing  I don't see an opportunity for a significantly sized transatlantic operation".

The Ryanair chief is an advocate of "sticking to the knitting" as an airline management strategy. "The best way to be safe and profitable is to be very disciplined," he says, adding that a single-type fleet is optimal.

Of Flydubai's decision to launch a business-class product, O'Leary is scathing, labelling the move "nuts". He adds: "Low-cost airlines with business class is just mad. It's a bit like EasyJet going back into being travel agents."