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Business

Ryanair backpedals on transatlantic flights

Just four days after announcing plans for US flights, Irish budget airline Ryanair has apparently dropped the idea of running transatlantic routes of its own, 'clarifying' its business plan for the the next five years.

Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair said in

a statement released late on Thursday

that its board had "not considered or approved any transatlantic project," and didn't intend to do so.

The surprise announcement came after the no-frills airline unveiled big plans on Monday for offering low-cost flights on transatlantic routes in the next five years. Flight fares would start from as little as 10 pounds ($14, 13.9 euros), the Dublin-based carrier said in a statement, with the company board approving the plans.

However, Ryanair's U-turn on US flights doesn't rule out the possibility of the airline establishing a separate company at some time in the future to provide transatlantic services.

News agency Reuters on Thursday quoted a source familiar with the matter as saying that the company was still considering the launch of a sister company to offer flights across the Atlantic.

Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary has long eyed operating long-haul services in addition to its low-cost short-haul business in Europe. But he's repeatedly stressed that they would have to be run separately in order to be profitable.

uhe/ng (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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