Holy smokes for car hire partnership

Ryanair yesterday launched a car hire partnership with Irish online brokerage CarTrawler, replacing a long-running deal with Hertz and promising customers lower prices.

The tie-up will ensure Ryanair customers will have access to the cheapest car hire fares, the company said as it announced the launch of Ryanair Car Hire.

The deal with CarTrawler, the Dublin-based private equity-backed technology platform could remove the need for customers to use rival car hire websites and counter the growing popularity of comparison sites.

Ryanair invited bids from car-hire groups in July after Hertz scrapped the pair’s long-standing arrangement.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said 16 car hire companies and rental brokerages had submitted proposals.

Its previous car hire tie-up ended when Hertz pulled out because of a dispute over Ryanair’s indirect ticket sales.

The airline subsequently said it would launch legal proceedings against Hertz.

Through CarTrawler, Ryanair will be connected to 1,500 car rental agents in over 30,000 airport and city locations.

“We have moved to a broker as a solution for providing our car hire needs,” Mr O’Leary told reporters.

“It’s a recognition of the fact that no one car hire company has the capacity or the availability at any airport to handle the volume of Ryanair’s traffic,” he said.

Ryanair has a history of shaking up Europe’s travel market, having developed its low-fares model to become the continent’s largest airline by passenger numbers.

Fresh from an image makeover last year which has helped boost passenger numbers and profit growth, Ryanair in July said it would turn up the heat on rivals by cutting prices this winter.

The airline will launch a website in October offering its 100 million annual passengers flight price comparisons, cheap hotel rooms and restaurant discounts.

“Ryanair is at the forefront of online travel retailing. In CarTrawler, they have chosen a car rental partner with the scale, expertise and technology platform that will help them to deliver on their promise of “always getting better”.

“This new partnership is a natural fit between two companies that are trailblazers in their respective fields; Ryanair has transformed air travel while CarTrawler continues to deliver innovative ground transportation solutions to airlines and online travel retailers all over the world,” said CarTrawler chief executive, Mike McGearty.

Shares in Ryanair closed up 4.1% to €11.85 on the Iseq index in Dublin yesterday.


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