Airlines will soon be promoting each other’s fares, predicts Ryanair

Airlines will soon be promoting each other’s fares, predicts Ryanair

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Travel agents and travel management companies (TMCs) will have “zero” role in Ryanair’s future despite the carrier joining GDSs last year, a senior figure at the carrier has revealed.

Appearing at the Capa World Aviation Summit in Helsinki, Ryanair chief commercial officer David O’Brien was asked what future there might be for intermediaries in selling Ryanair seats.

O’Brien replied: “Their role into the future will be zero. What we aim towards is for our website to be the first port of call.”

He described the number of bookings Ryanair currently takes through GDS intermediaries as “very few”.

Instead, O’Brien suggested airlines would soon be listing one another’s fares on their websites, supplanting the role of online travel agents (OTAs).

He said: “The idea of showing other airlines’ fares on your own website has been scoffed at, but there are some meaningful discussions now.

“Lufthansa, Air France and others can’t hide the fact that most often Ryanair is cheaper and you might as well see that on Lufthansa’s site. It will result in the disintermediation of the disintermediators.”

O’Brien said Ryanair is poised to offer more ancillary travel services, saying: “The Uber of car hire, the Airbnb of car hire is still to come, and I see no reason why Ryanair couldn’t get into that sort of thing.

“Distribution is going to change and our objective is to become a companion of the customer.”

Travelport global head of product and marketing Ian Heywood said: “I’m worried about agents and their role, whether bricks and mortar or OTA.

“What is the role of the travel agent in the next 10 years? I don’t know they are showing the same leadership in the industry as some. They need to evolve with the industry.”

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