Ryanair sets out plans for new long-haul routes

By Phil Davies | 17 March 2015 at 08.19 GMT

Ryanair is talking to manufacturers about acquiring long-haul aircraft as it plans to develop low fare transatlantic services.

The airline said it would like to offer flights between 10 European cities and a similar number of US destinations.

But it would be four to five years before services would start, according to the Irish low-cost carrier, confirming plans reported by Travel Weekly earlier this month.

The venture’s planned European bases would include Stansted, Dublin, Cologne and Berlin, plus others in Spain, Italy and Scandinavia.

Flights would connect between 12 and 14 European cities with US destinations including Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York and Washington.

Although some subsidised promotional fares would cost £10, other one-way tickets would be priced at £99 or more, and the airline would fill up to half its aircraft with more expensive premium seats, head of marketing Kenny Jacobs was reported as saying.

Ryanair said: “The board of Ryanair, like any plc, has approved the business plans for future growth, including transatlantic.

“We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft but cannot comment further on this.

“European consumers want lower-cost travel to the USA and the same for Americans coming to Europe. We see it as a logical development in the European market.”

Noting Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian’s transatlantic services, Jacobs told the Financial Times: “We’ve seen what others have done, we’ve listened and observed what’s gone on in the past 12 months and now have a better view on how we’d like to launch it and market it, and what the product would look like.”

Ryanair’s service, pitched as part of an ambitious growth strategy over the next five years, would be different from that of Norwegian because “we’re a bigger business — a bigger brand with more traffic and a much more efficient cost model,” Jacobs said.

The transatlantic flights would not be branded under the company name, he added.

Confirmation of the long haul plans came as the carrier released its winter flying programme three months earlier than last year, covering more than 1,600 routes.

Jacobs said: “Ryanair is pleased to launch our biggest ever winter schedule, with more flights, routes and destinations, as we continue to grow Europe’s biggest route network.

“Ryanair will continue to connect Europe’s key centres of business, with more flights and improved schedules to and from major cities, including Berlin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Milan, Rome and Warsaw.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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Glasgow airport reports busiest February in eight years

By Phil Davies | 11 March 2015 at 13.07 GMT
Continued demand for eastern European destinations served by Wizz Air and Ryanair helped push passengers using Glasgow airport up by almost 14% last month.

The Scottish airport handled more than 510,000 passengers in February – its 24th consecutive month of growth.

International traffic was up by almost a quarter over February last year while domestic numbers grew by 6.9% with British Airways, Flybe and Loganair all reporting a strong February.

Ryanair’s three daily services to Stansted also continued to perform well, according to the airport.

Aer Lingus launched flights to Donegal last month and Citywing confirmed an increase in services to the Isle of Man to 11 a week during the summer. Flybe launches a new double daily service to Bournemouth on March 29 and flights to Cardiff in June.

Airport managing director, Amanda McMillan, said: “Our success in securing new routes and attracting airlines to Glasgow has translated into sustained passenger growth and we could not have asked for a better start to the year.

“The next three months will see the launch of a further 13 new routes including direct flights to Las Vegas, Munich, Prague and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“We are continuing to make improvements to the airport in order to accommodate this growth and are making excellent progress with the £3 million extension of our east pier.

“It is an exciting time for Glasgow airport and there is much to look forward to with major events such as the World Gymnastics and IPC Swimming World Championships still to come.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair confirms it’s ‘considering’ transatlantic flights

By Ian Taylor | 09 March 2015 at 07.28 GMT
Ryanair has firmed up plans to offer flights to and from the US following years of speculation that it could operate transatlantic services.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair chief marketing officer, confirmed: “We are interested in doing transatlantic flights.”

Jacobs said Ryanair could operate its own flights under another brand or connect with US airlines flying into Europe.

Speaking at German travel trade show ITB in Berlin, he said: “We expect the grip of the [existing] transatlantic carriers will come to an end quite soon.

“Low cost competition on transatlantic flights would be good for Europe. We’re very interested in it – there is no reason why we couldn’t [do it] in five years’ time.”

Jacobs gave details of the plans the carrier is considering – the first time a senior Ryanair executive has done so.

He said: “We expect to look at it in two ways.

“We’re considering our own transatlantic flights, with standard seats and premium economy, probably from 10 airports in Europe and six in the US, with strong frequencies.”

He said services “would not be Ryanair” but under another name.

“We’re also looking at doing it with US airlines linking to our network in Europe.”

Jacobs raised the prospect of “an American airline flying to Cologne to connect with Ryanair flights around Europe”.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has repeatedly raised the prospect of transatlantic flights, though not operated by Ryanair itself.

However, O’Leary has also argued the long-haul aircraft required for such an operation were not available.

Ryanair has a fleet of 320 aircraft and another 380 on order for delivery by 2024. It expects to operate a fleet of 520 aircraft by 2024.

However, none of the aircraft on order are suitable for long-haul operations.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair improvements aim to make travel an ‘enjoyable experience’

By Phil Davies | 04 March 2015 at 08.32 GMT
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A range of improved services, fee reductions and digital developments are to be introduced by Ryanair over the coming year.

The move came as the budget carrier unveiled an eight-point ‘customer charter’ including a promise to make travel an “enjoyable experience” as Ryanair marks its 30th anniversary.

The ten new service initiatives have been announced in the second year of a three-year ‘always getting better’ programme.

These include:

New aircraft interiors and cabin crew uniforms
Lower airport check-in fees, missed departure fees and a new flight cancellation option of €15 per segment fee, within 24 hours of booking.
Real time airline fare comparisons on Ryanair.com
A new destination content service, featuring customer reviews.
A new travel insurance product, replacing the current drop down insurance.
A personalised Ryanair.com website with up to 100 versions of the homepage and personalised promotional emails with customer-specific tailored offers.
A new ‘hold the fare’ feature – €5 to hold a fare for 24 hours.
An improved inflight menu, with more healthy meal choices and a hot breakfast pre-order service on key routes.
New seats with more leg room.
Faster native mobile apps, an improved Ryanair.com desktop and an enhanced ‘My Ryanair customer registration system.
Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “Europe’s customers have always chosen Ryanair for our low fares and great choice of routes and through our always getting better programme, we are continuing to improve our customer experience.

“Those low fares won’t change, but we will continue to listen and strive to enhance every aspect of our business and our new customer charter outlines the way we want to deliver an enjoyable, simple and low cost travel experience to customers.

“Our customers can look forward to an improved inflight experience with new cabin interiors and a new menu, fantastic new digital features including personalised websites, a faster app, ‘hold the fare’ and price comparison features and great destination content, reduced fees and a new flight cancellation option, as well as new insurance products.

“We will also continue to add new routes and airports to what is already Europe’s largest network, offering an even greater choice to our 100 million annual customers.”

Chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said: “2014/15 was a record year for Ryanair, as we grew our traffic to 90 million customers and started to dramatically improve the customer experience through the introduction of allocated seating, a second free carry-on bag, our new mobile app and website and our new dedicated Family Extra and Business Plus services, as well as more routes to even more airports, with improved schedules and frequencies.

“We now want to celebrate our 30th birthday in 2015 by launching our new Customer Charter and the second year of our always getting better plan as we grow to carry 100 million customers this year.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair calls on high fare airlines to drop fuel surcharges

getAsset.aspxBy Phil Davies,

Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have been urged by Ryanair to drop fuel surcharges and pass on savings from falling oil prices to customers.

The low-cost carrier is urging UK consumers not to pay unnecessary charges by avoiding high fare airlines.

Ryanair is also calling on all airlines operating in the UK, including Flybe, Jet 2, Monarch, Thomson and Thomas Cook, to confirm they do not impose fuel surcharges on customers.

Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “It’s grossly unfair on consumers that high fare airlines such as BA and Virgin continue to charge fuel surcharges, squeezing customers for every last drop.

“As oil prices continually fall, these savings should be passed on to customers.

“Our advice is simple – don’t let these high fare airlines hold you over a barrel.”

He added: “Ryanair guarantees no fuel surcharges ever and we’ll continue to lower air fares for UK customers, as millions more Britons choose to fly Ryanair.

“We call on all airlines operating in the UK to confirm to that they don’t impose fuel surcharges on their customers.”

Sourced by Travel Weekly


Ryanair sticks to short-haul – and continues to mull a holiday offering

Ryanair will continue to focus on growing its share of the short-haul market rather than looking at launching long-haul routes.

A Ryanair aircraft stands on the Tarmac in the rain

Speaking on the day the no-frills airline unveiled its third-quarter results, chief financial officer Neil Sorahan said tightening the firm’s grip on the European market remained a priority.

The carrier will use its new order of Boeing 737-800s to launch new routes and bolster frequencies. It will also take up to 200 new Boeing 737 MAX 200 jets from 2019.

“We’ve got a lot we can achieve in Europe just growing organically. We have 15% of the market share… over the next five to 10 years we can see that increasing to more than 20% of the market,” said Sorahan.

“There’s a lot to do with those aircraft in Europe itself. If we were to look at long-haul, and that’s some way away, then you’re looking for larger jets than we have today.”

Sorahan also reiterated Ryanair’s desire to develop a dedicated holiday offering.

“The Ryanair ‘labs’ team is fully operational – it is looking at lots of different ideas, and that’s potentially one,” he said.

In November, Ryanair announced a tie-up with accommodation portal Booking.com, and it also has an agreement with car rental firm Hertz.

“I’ve no doubt in time we’ll come up with some way of packaging and taking even more stress out of it [booking a holiday],” Sorahan added.

Sourced by TTG Digital


Ryanair deals ‘perfectly’ with snow penis picture

Ryanair’s communications team had been praised for the way it reacted when its ground handling staff were caught on camera drawing a giant penis in the snow at Dublin Airport.

The photo, taken by a waiting passenger, was tweeted and retweeted, and shared on Facebook, and was quickly picked up by the media across the world.

When contacted for a response to the online furore, Ryanair’s communications chief Robin Kiely quipped: “While our ground crew excel at industry leading 25 minute turnarounds, art isn’t their forte, as they’ve clearly forgotten to draw wings on their snow airplane.”

It was described by many in the media world as the perfect public relations response.

Sourced by Travelmole