Sunday 15 December 2019

Ryanair to ponder tech and retail firm buyouts

Ryanair has a fleet of over 300 aircraft
Ryanair has a fleet of over 300 aircraft
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ryanair will consider small-scale acquisitions in the retail and technology sectors to beef up its revamped services to passengers, according to chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs.

His comments come as Ryanair continues to invest in its new digital media lab at its north Dublin HQ as part of its drive to transform its business.

But Mr Jacobs also told an aviation conference in London that while so-called ancillary revenue generation was a key plank of Ryanair's operations, it has to continue to focus on its core activity - flying passengers and ensuring quick turnaround times.

Targeting even small-scale acquisitions outside the aviation sector would be completely new territory for Ryanair.

"There are lots of things that could be interesting," over the next decade, Mr Jacobs told news agency Bloomberg on the fringes of the conference.

He stressed that any acquisitions would be small, and probably related to content businesses and retail opportunities.

He also said they would be focused on "improving the product, the distribution and the service".

At the same conference in London, Aer Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller predicted a "bloodbath" in Europe's airline industry.

He pointed out that about 500 short-haul aircraft are currently flying in Europe at a loss.

Interestingly, four of those aircraft are being operated by Aer Lingus under contract with Virgin Atlantic's domestic Little Red service in the UK.

Virgin has struggled to fill the Little Red aircraft, while Aer Lingus gets a set fee for operating them under its agreement. The aircraft are in Virgin Little Red livery.

Mr Mueller also said that one of the next challenges for the aviation industry is to develop airlines into retail platforms.

He also told a group of investors at a dinner in London on Monday evening that further ancillary revenue growth opportunities exist for Aer Lingus and that personalised merchandising will be launched next year by the carrier.

Aer Lingus generated €181m in ancillary revenue last year.

The average retail revenue per passenger at Aer Lingus during the first half of this year was €19.58, up from €19.06 in the first half of 2013.

Mr Mueller told investors that in the medium term, the airline should be able to boost that figure to €23.

Irish Independent

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