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Budget airline will offer cheap fares to U.S.; Portugal’s government nationalizing a smaller bank

Airline plans to offer cheap fares to U.S.

LONDON – Budget airline Ryanair is drawing up plans to offer trans-Atlantic flights as cheap as 10 euros ($12.70) before taxes to several U.S. cities from Britain and Ireland, a company official said, according to a newspaper report Sunday.

The Irish airline intends to offer services from London’s Stansted Airport and Dublin (Ireland) airport to New York, Florida, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was quoted as saying in an interview with Britain’s News of the World tabloid.

Ryanair Holdings PLC spokeswoman Pauline McAlester said she could not confirm the plans before an official announcement Monday when the company’s half yearly results – expected to show a fall in profits as a result of slowing consumer demand – are announced.

“Economy class will be very cheap – around 10 euros. But our business class will be very expensive. There’s always 10 to 15 percent who’ll pay whatever it costs for a wide seat,” O’Leary was quoted as saying.

Last month, the airline closed a base in Valencia, ending 70 weekly flights to the city in southern Spain.

But O’Leary hopes Ryanair could snap up aircraft from struggling rivals to create a new trans-Atlantic service, the newspaper said.

“We’ll just have to keep flying more aircraft, opening up more routes and offering people more cheap flights,” he was quoted as saying.

Portugal’s government will take over bank

LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s government announced Sunday it is nationalizing one of the country’s smaller banks, which has sustained heavy losses in the financial crisis.

Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said Banco Portugues de Negocios has recorded losses of around 700 million euros ($893 million).

He said two administrators from the central bank will oversee the bank’s activities.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting Sunday, Teixeira dos Santos said the government has decided to provide a credit line of 4 billion euros ($5.1 billion) to Portugal’s banks.

No other Portuguese bank has reported problems during the financial crisis.

Teixeira dos Santos said two administrators from the central bank would oversee BPN’s activities from Monday. At a later stage, BPN will be placed under the management of state-owned bank Caixa geral de Depositos, the country’s largest bank, he said.

The nationalization requires approval from Parliament, where the government has an overall majority.

The Associated Press

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