It is often said that many of the barriers to low-cost airlines doing longhaul journeys arise because of reasons pertaining to having to acquire aircraft (and crew) that can fly directly. Also, ‘Third Country Trading Barriers’ are mentioned, but I doubt that it is a major issue, as there are budget flights to several countries outside (but neighboring) Europe. What if instead of flying directly, the long-haul journeys have an EU/EEA refuelling stopover (therefore also having passenger pick-up/drop-off priveleges)? That way they can treat the longhaul journey almost as if it was the simple sum of two shorthaul journeys, and can use their existing shorthaul aircraft. Depending on exactly how the crew are assigned to both the sectors, it may require hotel stays. But otherwise, surely many of the original objections would no longer arise, and nor would they be struggling to compete with full-service airlines (who fly without stopover). I guess that in order to make such flights attractive and palatable to the passenger, it would have to be appropriately priced, or offer some other incentive. Example itineraries could include (instead of UK I have used Rep. Ireland because of the complications introduced by Brexit):
Rep. Ireland -> Canary Islands -> Northeast Brazil
Rep. Ireland -> Cyprus -> North and Central India
Rep. Ireland -> Iceland -> Canada
Rep. Ireland -> Azores -> Northeast USA (this is probably not a great example because Azores is a bit of a detour, but is within the range of shorthaul aircraft)
So where is the catch???