Ryanair to accept American Express for the first time
Amex cards will have the same €8 fee and 2 per cent commission charge levied on every credit card
Since it went “live” last Thursday, 2 per cent of all bookings made on Ryanair’s website were made with Amex cards
Ryanair is to accept American Express cards – a departure that opens up the possibility of winning a more significant share of Europe’s business-travel market, according to senior company executive, Howard Millar. He said many major companies use only Amex for their business expenses.
“One big central European company, for instance, had asked if we could facilitate them. Others approached us, too, because they couldn’t book with us,” said the company’s chief financial officer.
Since it went “live” last Thursday, 2 per cent of all bookings made on Ryanair’s website were made with Amex cards – which attract the same €8 fee and 2 per cent commission charge that is levied on every credit card. “We think it could amount to 5 per cent of all bookings in time,” Mr Millar said.
The numbers are far from insignificant, since, despite facing a major dip in its share price earlier this month after it issued a profit warning, Ryanair is still aiming to carry 110 million passengers in a few years’ time, up from 81 million this year.
However, accepting Amex will impact on a few. Changes planned to the company’s website and e-commerce – once regarded as being a leader not just in aviation, but for all companies – will affect far more.
Easyjet, usually the butt of abuse from Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary, are ahead, conceded Millar: “Easyjet have stolen a significant march on us, I think they are probably two years ahead of where we are in product development, the website.
“I think they are a long way ahead of us. I did say that we had probably under-invested in, perhaps our website development, mobile apps and things like this. We are starting behind, but I think you’ll find that we’ll catch up that ground rather quickly.
“We were one of the early adopters of the Internet, I think we have lost our leadership there. I think we are going to have to work harder,” Millar told journalists, unused to so much contrition from the Irish airline.