Ryanair will target the package market with “Aldi-style discount holidays” as it also moves to offer long-haul destinations, connecting flights and seats on rival airlines.
The carrier will launch connecting flights with check-through baggage this month on services via Rome Fiumicino.
Only Ryanair connections and services with a three-hour “connection window” will be offered at first, but the budget giant aims to expand “rapidly” to other airports and add connections to long-haul Aer Lingus and Norwegian flights by September.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “This is a big deal for us. It will allow customers to search and book Dublin-Palermo when we don’t fly Dublin-Palermo and their bag will be handled by Fiumicino.
“It will become available across the network. We’re looking to do the same thing with Aer Lingus and Norwegian on long-haul and short-haul from September. You’ll be able to book New York or Cancun through Gatwick or Dublin and your bag will be checked‑through.”
Ryanair also plans to sell rival airlines, with Jacobs saying: “We’ll sell partner airlines’ flights, long and short-haul. It’ll be like putting your products on Amazon.”
But the plans for Ryanair Holidays may alarm the trade. Ryanair expects to carry 130 million passengers this year and Jacobs said: “How many millions of our customers head to the sun on holiday? Even a low single-digit proportion of that is interesting financially.
“We’ll incentivise customers to book holidays with us.”
Ryanair Holidays offers hotels of up to five-star in packages “with full consumer protection”.
It launched in December, was pulled in January when Ryanair accused technology provider Logitravel of screen-scraping and re-selling fares, and relaunched in March with German partners HLX Touristic and Peakwork.
Jacobs said: “We’re not talking numbers, but we plan to have this in every market. We’re like Aldi. We’re a discounter.”