Ryanair targets agents and touts free air fares

Ryanair targets agents and touts free air fares

A new Ryanair website for groups will seek to take business off agents as the airline strives to further drive down air fares – even raising the prospect of free tickets.

The carrier will launch a website for group bookings in September to counter the trade, which it claims directs group bookings to the more expensive legacy carriers.

Ryanair chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “Groups have often been left in the hands of travel agents who often steer them down the legacy carrier route.”

Also in September, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier will unveil a schools trip-booking service, Ryanair School Travel, which it describes as a “dedicated travel agency for school tours”.

Jacobs said school tours “cost too much” and the service would offer savings and more choice.

In an update marking the third anniversary of its ‘Always Getting Better’ programme this week, Ryanair also revealed its latest plans to drive bookings to its website and reduce air fares.

Asked whether the carrier intended to stick to its vow to reduce fares to an average of €25, chief executive Michael O’Leary indicated it may go even further.

“I would like to say average air fares for Ryanair will be €10 in the next five years,” he said.

“Currently it is €40-€45, but I hope if we can double in size we can bring down prices. Why not free or €1 in 10 years’ time?

“Why can’t we keep driving down the cost of air travel? The more optional [ancillary] services we can sell, the more the underlying air fare can fall.”

Destination guides, featuring targeted information and offers, are due to be added to the Ryanair website in July. Also that month, the airline will start selling a ‘Leisure Plus’ bundle fare offering reserved seats, auto check-in and priority boarding.

“We want to have Europe’s 
most accessible travel content,” said Jacobs.

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