RYANAIR is set to aggressively target business travellers and families for passenger growth, with new fare structures that will mark another major departure for the airline from its traditional model.
The airline's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, said Ryanair will in coming weeks unveil new flexible fares that will allow business passengers to alter flight times and dates as part of their ticket price in the event that their schedule changes.
He's also planning to introduce new fares that aim to make travel easier for families.
Mr O'Leary revealed details of the new fare structures while addressing the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society yesterday. His comments followed his earlier announcement in the capital with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Dublin Airport Authority boss Kevin Toland, where Mr O'Leary said the carrier will launch nine new routes from Dublin next year and add up to 700,000 passengers at Dublin Airport.
"There will be a business product that will be a key advantage to you and your businesses in the first quarter of next year," Mr O'Leary told the lunchtime audience at the Shelbourne Hotel.
"The key feature will be that you will be able to change the flights and the timings if your meetings change."
Families will also be lured with better deals.
"We will be designing a product specifically for families travelling with children under the age of 16. It will involve discounts on the kiddies' fares, the allocated seating and the check-in bags," said Mr O'Leary.
"There is going to be a lot of customer service initiatives in the next six months," he added.
"What I'm going to do in the next five years, as we grow to 110 million (passengers), is really go aggressively after those markets that sometimes we don't appeal to, which will be families travelling with children (and) business people who need changes to their itineraries," he added.
Ryanair rival Easyjet has had huge success in luring business passengers, offering them allocated seating, flexible tickets and higher frequencies on key routes.