(December 26, 2021) — Governor Kathy Hochul is looking to pitch Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on locating the discount European carrier’s North American headquarters at Long Island’s MacArthur International Airport. The airline is ranked among the busiest in Europe and specializes in providing leisure travelers with a cheap alternative to legacy carriers.
The airline has no routes to North America, which Hochul wants to change.
“The Governor believes that there are a lot of folks who live in Nassau and Suffolk Counties who would love access to discount travel to European destinations where Ryanair has located its hubs: in Dublin, Milan, London, and Frankfurt,” a Hochul advisor explains. “It’s probably one of the strongest suburban markets for European travel in North America.”
“Historically, the New York City metropolitan area has had large immigrant populations from Germany, Ireland, and Italy,” he adds. “There is certainly a market for Ryanair to make a profit on leisure travel and operate very efficiently at MacArthur’s current terminal, but long term the Governor is willing to collaborate on constructing a new terminal on the north side of the airfield, immediately adjacent to the Long Island Railroad station at Ronkonkoma.”
Officials in the Hochul administration believe that, if Ryanair decides to pursue an aggressive North American growth strategy, that no airport would be better suited to accommodate the airline’s continental hub. They would like to see the airline — which has been a considerable disrupter in very highly regulated European transport markets — collaborate with the Empire State Development on crafting a long-term development plan for the airport.
“While business travel is down at the moment, leisure travel will come back to pre-pandemic levels quickly,” he notes.