Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l) CEO Michael O'Leary has once more touted plans to offer EUR10 (USD13) flights to the United States by 2019. In an interview with German weekly, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, O'Leary bemoaned a lack of cheap, available long-haul equipment blaming the Gulf carriers' heavy orders.

"We have a finished business plan (for long-distance routes) in the drawer," he said.

However, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, has gone on record as saying the airline intends to consolidate its position in Europe before rolling out services to North America.

"There is still plenty of headroom in Europe. when you look at the European market. I mean in Germany, in the UK, in Scandinavia we could grow very, very significantly," he told The Irish Examiner. “We are the biggest in Europe with 82m passengers and that gives us 13% market share, by contrast with the US where Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field) would have 30% market share of short-haul. We can significantly increase the market share that we have in Europe."

It is believed the Irish LCC has also had its sights set on acquiring some early model B787-8s from Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) - known as The Terrible Teens for their initial teething problems - in order to kick start its transatlantic flights.

Competition is likely to spring from both sides of the Atlantic with Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) subsidiary, Norwegian Air International (D8, Dublin Int'l), currently angling for North American traffic rights despite stiff resistance from US carriers and trade unions.

In late March, US LCC JetBlue Airways (B6, New York JFK) CEO Jeff Barger alluded to his own carrier's plans to launch low cost transatlantic services, adding that any potential launch would likely precede that of Ryanair's.

"I think we'll be doing it before he's doing it," Mr Barger told the Irish Independent at the time.

He went on to rubbish O'Leary's claims of possible EUR10 fares between the United Kingdom and destinations such as Boston and New York JFK.

"There's just no way," said Mr Barger. "There's such hype that comes out of certain airlines."