Ryanair will force flyers to sign up to app for tickets
All passengers flying with Ryanair could soon have to sign up for the airline's 'myRyanair' programme before being able to book tickets, and the change might be introduced as early as next year, according to chief executive Michael O'Leary.
The move would be a major shift in how the airline sells its tickets, and would help Ryanair further develop its plan to offer more personalised offers for flyers. Over 11 million people have already voluntarily signed up for the service.
Only this week, the airline was offering an incentive to flyers to sign up to the for myRyanair service, which was launched in 2014, giving a €10 voucher against a future flight booking if customers enlisted as a myRyanair member. It launched a myRyanair app this year, and claims it makes the booking process 20pc faster.
Ryanair tells customers that the service offers "even faster access" to fares, allowing customers to create their own personal profile, save passport details and set their travel preferences. It also saves payment details.
But if Mr O'Leary has his way, the sign-up won't be optional for long.
"Maybe next year, we won't allow you to make a booking online unless you join up for our myRyanair programme," he told an audience at the US Ambassador's residence in Dublin.
"That will be every single passenger's individual frequent flyer programme," he said. "If you flew five times with us last year, you'll get an even bigger incentive to fly with us six times this year. We'll also know if you like to park your car at the airport, and we can give you a one-click discount on the car-parking. You order your coffee on board, you click and it's all done. No payments on board the aircraft. We're going to transform the whole travel journey."
Ryanair attracted about 300m unique visits to its website in the first six months of 2016, and will carry about 117 million passengers this year.
Boeing's vice president of strategy, Sheila Remes, said at the event at the Ambassador's residence that the manufacturer worked closely with Ryanair to develop its new 737-Max aircraft, for which the airline has placed 100 firm orders and has 100 options. She said that the toilets were made slightly smaller on the aircraft, for instance.
The first delivery of that aircraft type is slated to take place next year.
Meanwhile, Davy Stockbrokers yesterday raised its 12-month price target on Ryanair shares to €16. They were trading at €13.32 yesterday.
Analysts including Stephen Furlong also set out a scenario where Ryanair shares could hit €25 in the longer term, which would give the airline a market capitalisation of almost €33bn.
That potential is based on increased ancillary monetisiation, the better economics of the Max aircraft, and distributable free cash that the airline will have on hand, according to Davy.