Ryanair confirms link-up with long-haul carriers

Ryanair COO David O'Brien
Ryanair COO David O'Brien

Ryanair is finalising deals with two long-haul carriers to create a “seamless” transfer experience, the budget airline has announced.

The partnerships will allow passengers taking Ryanair flights which connect with Aer Lingus and Norwegian services to book their whole trip with the long-haul airlines and have their baggage automatically moved between planes.

David O’Brien, Ryanair’s chief operating officer, gave an example of passengers travelling from Belfast to Gatwick with Ryanair and then continuing their journey with Norweigian, which serves a number of destinations in the US.

He said holidaymakers would have a much lower chance of luggage going missing when they change planes.

“Given that we don’t lose bags, your chances of bags being lost on long-haul connections is halved at least,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said Ryanair was “working on the technical elements” of the deals with Aer Lingus and Norwegian, and is also having “tentative” discussions with other carriers.

“The initiatives are largely coming from those airlines who recognise that they will never be able to build a European network such as Ryanair’s,” he said.

“Instant hubs could be available right across Europe.”

He told a press conference in central London that Ryanair hopes to use partnerships to “disrupt” the status quo at several airports.

“This seems like a useful opportunity, at the very least, to disrupt cosy transfer discount schemes in existence at several European airports, which is a secret method of subsidising a flag carrier,” he said.

“Take somewhere like Rome, where Alitalia enjoys about 110 million euros (£95 million) worth of rebates between airport rebates and tax rebates for its transfer passengers.

“We’d just love to get into the middle of that.”

He said there is no time-scale for when the partnerships will be launched.

Ryanair also announced that it will launch nine new routes from London Stansted, including a daily service to Naples and a three times daily service to Copenhagen.