Ryanair eyes Charles de Gaulle and Orly routes

Ryanair has applied for slots at Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports and is willing to co-operate with long-haul traditional airlines, chief executive Michael O’Leary has told French financial daily Les Echos.

Mr O’Leary said the new slots, if approved, would not be at the expense of Beauvais airport north of Paris and added that Ryanair also has projects at Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and several other French airports.

“For now, it is not a matter of opening new bases there but new lines,” he was quoted as saying.

Asked about co-operation with traditional airlines, Mr O’Leary said Ryanair wants to develop its presence in major airports to capture new customers and because big airports are inviting Ryanair to come.

“It would be perfectly logical for long-haul airlines like Air France to ask for our help to reduce their losses on short-haul flights,” he said.

He said Ryanair flights could feed Air France at Roissy, IAG flights at Gatwick or Lufthansa flights in Berlin.

“We have already had discussions about this topic with IAG, TAP, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian. I think we will be able to announce a few deals next summer,” he said.

Mr O’Leary said the lack of slots at Orly in the south of Paris makes the situation there more difficult but said this may be eased by a restructuring of Air France in the coming years which he expects will see the French airline cut domestic flights.

The Ryanair chief said the airline is also looking at projects in other French airports such as Lyon, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

He said traditional airlines would continue to reduce their short-haul networks, creating opportunities for Ryanair and predicted that within five years the major Gulf carriers will own a significant stake up to 25% in major European airlines.

The price war has been won by Ryanair but the battle to provide the best quality service, which has driven the extension of its Always Getting Better strategy, is yet to be won, Mr O’Leary added.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus has launched its new website which it says will transform online booking.

The website offers a more personalised experience for travellers and provides a more streamlined booking process which can be completed in six steps.

A new ‘farefinder’ feature allows customers to see up to 30 days of prices at one time while another feature allows users to freeze any quoted short-haul fare for 24 hours at a cost of €5 per flight.

Transatlantic seats can be reserved with a deposit.

Travellers can also set up a personalised Aer Lingus account which stores certain details while check-in is now available for all flights up to 30 days in advance.

“With over 80% of all Aer Lingus bookings made through our website, the new site provides us with a modern and innovative platform that will showcase the best of what Aer Lingus has to offer.

“The innovative design and content places us well ahead of our principle competitors and represents a quantum leap versus the current classic site,” said Aer Lingus chief commercial officer Mike Rutter.

The new website, which has gone live and handling 40% of bookings, is available at new.aerlingus.com.

Once the final testing phase is complete in the coming weeks this new site will replace the current aerlingus.com.


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