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TV and films to be streamed for tablets onboard Ryanair flights

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Michael O'Leary and Kenny Jacobs

Michael O'Leary and Kenny Jacobs

Michael O'Leary and Kenny Jacobs

Ryanair passengers will soon be able to watch movies and television shows on their mobile devices during flights, with the airline planning to trial an onboard streaming service this summer.

The airline - which operates about 1,600 flights a day - will also start trialling a wifi service later this year, as it tries to boost its credentials with business passengers.

Ryanair chief technology officer John Hurley told the Irish Independent that the onboard movie and TV show service will probably be free to passengers, and will be paid for by advertising.

However, passengers will need to use their own devices to watch the films or television shows, and Ryanair won't be installing seat-back screens on its aircraft.

The streaming service will just provide TV and movie content, and won't enable passengers to surf the web.

The streaming service is likely to be trialled on a few holiday routes during the summer.

If it is well received by customers, it could be rolled out across its fleet of more than 300 aircraft.

Separately, a wifi service will be trialled later this year, probably on routes between key airports that are heavily used by business travellers.

It is not clear yet what the pricing structure might be for passengers, however.

If it is fully rolled out across Ryanair's fleet, it could be free for business travellers.

Mr Hurley said it would make more sense to retrofit the new aircraft that Ryanair has on order, and which started to be delivered last September.

Ryanair will grow its aircraft fleet to more than 500 by 2024 and expects to carry 160 million passengers that year.

Ryanair is also hoping that the planned introduction of more sophisticated onboard electronic point-of-sale devices for cabin crew could help it increase its in-flight ancillary sales.

Mr Hurley also said Ryanair is eyeing the continued development of Apple Pay.

This is the new cashless mobile payment system that's so far been introduced by the technology giant in the United States.

He said Ryanair would be very interested in introducing an onboard cashless payment system.

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs also said the airline remains open to selling its near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus.

British Airways owner IAG has made two indicative offers since before Christmas to buy Aer Lingus.

See Business: Pages 36-37

Irish Independent