Irish low fares airline Ryanair will provide connecting flights for long-haul airlines including Lufthansa and Air France-KLM within the next 10 years, as the European budget airline eyes partnerships to expand its network and boost passenger numbers, The Telegraph reported recently.
Ryanair is presently in talks with British Airways owner IAG, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian Air Shuttle, and Portugal’s TAP on providing feeder traffic in a move that marks a major shift from its earlier strategy.
The Dublin-based airline previously avoided partnerships with other carriers, claiming that it would not match with the quick turnaround times that are vital to the low-cost model. However, the company is now looking to attract a broader customer base by enhancing its service, adding frequencies and targeting primary airports.
‘The low-fare airlines will be doing most of the feed for the flag carriers,’ Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary reportedly told Bloomberg in an interview last week.
‘While network carriers will continue to service their main hubs, they will turn to low-cost operators to deliver passengers to secondary bases across Europe, O’Leary said, adding: ‘It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but in five or 10 years time.’
Ryanair earlier said that co-operation with long-haul airlines could begin on several routes as early as the 2015 winter schedule. Long-haul partners would be responsible for baggage transfer and dealing with missed connections.