Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair wants to cooperate more closely with big European airlines like Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways, taking on a new role as a feeder operation for the full-service airlines’ intercontinental flights to Asia and North America.
DutchNews.nl has quoted Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary suggesting an arrangement in which Ryanair provided feeder services for long-haul flights, using a single ticket.
O’Leary, Ryanair’s outspoken chief executive, has avoided the limelight recently as the airline seeks to develop a more customer-friendly image. O’Leary’s bluntness is legendary. An example is his famous response to a polite inquiry about the possibility of a refund: “You’re not getting a refund so **** off.”
Speaking in Bergamo, Italy, at the opening of a new Ryanair hangar, a seemingly less abrasive O’Leary floated a concept whereby travellers could take Ryanair from Prague to Amsterdam and then fly on to Johannesburg on KLM.
Currently, Ryanair is limited to point-to-point flights within Europe. The big established carriers use their own short-haul aircraft to provide feeder services for their lucrative long-haul flights.
Industry analysts said O’Leary’s concept could founder over who would pay in cases where flights were delayed or baggage went astray.
Ryanair operates only two flights from Amsterdam Schiphol: to Dublin and to Malaga. By the end of this year it will add nine new routes to Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands, bringing its total services there to 42. It also flies twice a week from Maastricht in southeast Netherlands to Alicante, Spain.
Written by Peter Needham