Ryanair launches package holidays in bid to become 'Amazon of air travel'
Published 01/12/2016 | 11:20
Ryanair has launched a package holiday service offering flights, accommodation and transfers to customers.
Irish customers will be able to book 'Ryanair Holidays', as the new package holiday service is dubbed, online as of today, December 1.
The airline has partnered with Spain-based tour operator, Logitravel, and accommodation provider, World2Meet, to create the service - which combines flights with three, four and five-star hotels for city and sun breaks throughout Europe.
"Consumers have been paying too much for package holidays for years, and more and more want to put their own packages together themselves," said Kenny Jacobs, the airline's Chief Marketing Officer.
Ryanair now serves some 119 million passengers a year, with increasing numbers of customers using the airline for services and products other than flights.
This year, it has already launched 'Ryanair Rooms', a Ryanair car hire service, and a schools travel company licensed and bonded as a travel agent.
The new Ryanair Holidays "is another significant step on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel", Jacobs said.
Ryanair Holidays, which is being rolled out in Ireland, the UK and Germany today, is fully ATOL bonded and insured, he added.
Other markets will follow in 2017, although not everyone in the industry is expecting the transformative experience Jacobs describes.
"We welcome them into the market," commented Pat Dawson, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents' Association, which has some 100 members. "But it will be interesting to see what kind of service they give."
"Ryanair is a bulk carrier, whereas our members offer a personal service. We offer a choice of many combinations and airlines, and packages to most countries in the world. Irish travel agents have been offering this type of dynamic packaging for 15-20 years."
Asked for a response, Ryanair offered a statement:
"It's no surprise travel agents are complaining about Ryanair Holidays. Customers have been paying too much for package holidays for years."
"Now they can book the widest range of routes from Ireland, on the lowest fares, with a fantastic choice of accommodation options and transfers; complete package holidays, cutting out costly middlemen and all on one website - Ryanair.com."
This story has been updated.