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Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
we have lift-off

It's official - Ryanair is getting ready to fly to the USA

But Irish passengers will have to wait to reap the spoils.

Updated at 11pm

RYANAIR’S BOARD HAS signed off on plans to start transatlantic flights – although it’s not clear how long Irish passengers will have to wait for the new budget seats.

It comes less than four months after the low-cost carrier launched a new website for US customers to book European flights and under two weeks since the company unveiled its strategy for the next two years.

That plan included predictions it would carry over 100 million passengers this year as it extended its lead as Europe’s busiest budget airline.

Today the Financial Times reported Ryanair was looking at plans to fly between a dozen European and US cities in four or five years under the agreed plan.

It quoted the airline as saying: “The board of Ryanair … has approved the business plans for future growth, including transatlantic.”

It said some transatlantic fares would be sold for as little as £10 (€14), but the majority would be priced at higher rates and about half of seats filled would be a pricier “premium” offering.

Aer Lingus flights to North America from Dublin currently start from €239 each way.

Ryanair Jon Gos Jon Gos

Planes still needed

Chief executive Michael O’Leary has previously flagged the move, but in November he said the company was still years away from pulling off the expansion because of a global backlog in long-haul plane orders.

“The difficulty is we would need a fleet of 30 or 40 long-haul aircraft to start, we can’t do it in 1s and 2s,” he said.

The good news is we think we can do it, we think we can make a lot of money, but the bad news is we can’t source the aircraft … for probably 3 or 4 years unless there is some significant change in the ordering profiles for long-haul aircraft.”

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Earlier this year O’Leary said the airline probably wouldn’t aim any transatlantic service at Irish customers to start with and the flights could be run through a new affiliate company.

He said he wanted the average price for the long-haul flights to be under €100, depending on the availability of planes.

Ryanair is yet to respond to’s request for comment.

First posted at 1pm

READ: Ryanair set to bring Spanish ‘ghost airport’ back to life >

READ: Michael O’Leary will be happy: There was a lot of good news for Ryanair today >

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