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Ryanair is reportedly in talks with Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian and TAP Air Portugal about connecting its short-haul passengers onto transatlantic services to North America.
Chief executive Michael O’Leary confirmed that Ryanair was talking to long-haul carriers in an attempt to expand the airline’s reach.
This came days after the Times revealed that the airline was in talks paving the way for its passengers flying into Dublin to be flown to the US on Aer Lingus’s network.
It would be the first time Europe’s largest short-haul budget carrier would feed short haul passengers into another airline’s long-haul flights.
O’Leary said that he wanted to keep arrangements simple, stating that long haul airlines would buy short haul flights from Ryanair and offer the packaged price to travellers.
“I don’t want to get involved with complicated code-sharing or pro rata profit-sharing,” he said. “If something goes wrong, it is their [the long haul airlines’] responsibility.”
He indicated potential co-operation with Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian at Gatwick and TAP at Lisbon in addition to International Airlines Group-owned Aer Lingus at Dublin.
But O’Leary ruled out industry speculation that he might buy Norwegian’s interests to achieve a long-term aim of launching a budget transatlantic airline.
He also indicated the potential for growth in Germany as Ryanair upped its growth forecasts by 20 million to 180 million in 2024 – double last year’s passenger carryings.
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