Ryanair may sign passenger-sharing deal with Aer Lingus

O’Leary hopes to sign long-haul deal with either Irish rival or Norwegian Air Shuttle

Ryanair is cutting passenger numbers in Republic to 14 million from 14.4 million this year, with reductions in Dublin and Shannon. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ryanair is cutting passenger numbers in Republic to 14 million from 14.4 million this year, with reductions in Dublin and Shannon. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Ryanair could sign a passenger-sharing deal with either Aer Lingus or Norwegian Air Shuttle by April or May, according to chief executive Michael O’Leary.

The airline has been in talks with both rivals about the possibility of it feeding passengers into their long-haul networks, in what would be the first agreement of its kind by the low-cost carrier.

Mr O’Leary said on Tuesday that he was hopeful that such a deal could be done with either Aer Lingus or Norwegian “by April or May of this year”.

Aer Lingus wants to grow its transatlantic business by taking traffic from Europe through Dublin Airport, while Norwegian is building a low-cost, long-haul network. A passenger-transfer deal with Ryanair would suit both strategies.

Ryanair will add services from Dublin to Tours and Valencia next winter. It will carry 120 million passengers this year, but is cutting numbers in the Republic to 14 million from 14.4 million, with reductions in Dublin and Shannon.

The airline said yesterday it will pay Dublin Airport’s owner, State company DAA, €115 million in 2017/2018, compared with €102 million in 2016/2017and €67 million in 2013/2014.

A letter from chief commercial officer, David O’Brien, to Dublin Airport managing director, Vincent Harrison, shows that Ryanair proposed adding two million passengers there this year in return for a 15 per cent discount on charges.

Traffic growth

“The difficulty is that the DAA is now seeking to effectively reimpose this tax for its own benefit through increased charges.”

A DAA spokesman said that its charges were not increasing. “Our charges are flat,” he said. “Dublin Airport welcomes Ryanair’s new winter routes to Tours and Valencia.”

He pointed out that its growth discount scheme remained in place. This rebates all airlines based on the number of extra passengers that they have brought to Dublin in a given year.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, warned that airport charges and other costs would have to come down so the Republic could draw tourists from Europe to compensate for a likely fall in British visitors following Brexit.

Britain accounted for 43 per cent of the Republic’s tourists last year, but that could decline as the UK economy slows and sterling weakens, both Mr O’Leary and Mr Jacobs warned.

Meanwhile, Mr O’Leary said he could not see how German carrier Airberlin’s agreement to provide craft and crew to fly routes for rival Lufthansa “could not be anticompetitive”. Ryanair intends to challenge the plan, beginning with a complaint to the German mergers regulator, the Bundeskartellamt.

Airberlin’s biggest shareholder, Etihad, has also agreed a passenger-sharing deal with Lufthansa.

It emerged yesterday that Etihad chief executive, James Hogan, will shortly step down. His strategy of taking stakes in troubled European carriers such as Airberlin and Alitalia has come under increasing fire recently.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.