Since last September Ryanair has gradually been turning its back on
its "abrupt culture" in a bid to woo new passengers from higher-cost
rivals and fill hundreds of new planes.
Chief executive Michael O'Leary said the airline would lure business
customers by flying to more convenient airports, so-called "primary"
airports, in a move which emulates low-cost rival easyJet.
"We're talking to primary airports today that we don't already fly
to in Italy, Spain, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark..and
there's a few others," he told reporters at a press conference on
The company also has plans to offer customers a new service in May.
"You're a business person, you have different needs. You may want to
fast-track through security. We're going to have a product that's
going to allow you to do that," he said.
Ryanair said improvements to its website and a policy brought in
earlier this year of allocating seats on flights were already
boosting advance bookings. For May, June and July, they are running
five percentage points ahead of where they were in 2013, O'Leary
easyJet has attracted more business customers since introducing
allocated seating 18 months ago, and by offering more flexible
ticketing, encroaching into the traditional territory of legacy
carriers such as Lufthansa <LHAG.DE>.
[to top of second column]
Ryanair's O'Leary, known for his brusque personality and
expletive-filled rants, on Wednesday dismissed questions about his
suitability to lead the new customer-friendly Ryanair.
Further in the future, the Irishman is continuing to explore his
long-stated plan of taking the Ryanair model to compete in the
"We're actively looking for aircraft. Not as Ryanair but as a sister
company," he said, adding that the company was talking to
planemakers Boeing <BA.N> and Airbus <AIR.PA> but the shortage of
longhaul aircraft meant that any developments were four or five
(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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