Ryanair Holdings Plc started selling flexible tickets targeting business passengers as Europe's biggest discount carrier seeks to gain credibility among corporate and government customers.
Starting at $92.2), the Business Plus fare includes priority boarding, free same-day ticket changes and the choice of seats closest to the front and rear exits, or over the wing that provide extra leg-room, the Dublin-based carrier said in a statement today. The new offer may account for as much as 30 percent of sales over time, Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said in an interview.
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In a nod to the success of rival EasyJet Plc at drawing corporate traffic, Ryanair has sought to refine its no-frills approach. The Irish carrier began accepting American Express Co. bookings last year and agreed to work with global booking system Travelport Ltd., the first such deal in a decade. A second, similar partnership is nearing completion, Jacobs said.
"People weren't asking us for lounge access and snacks on board," the executive said. "They just want to save money on the best fare, they want a reliable service and they want a schedule of destinations and number of flights a day that allow them to do their business and come back home the same day."
Other perks of the business product include fast-track security at select airports and a 20 kilogram (44 pound) check- in bag allowance.
The carrier said separately that it is targeting 1.3 million new passengers at London Stansted airport next year, bolstering Ryanair's annual traffic at the airport to 17 million customers. The number of people flying Ryanair to or from Dublin will increase by about 11 percent to 9.2 million.
"The schedule has more primary airports in it and is oriented around the business traveler with the frequency of flights that we have and also with the times of flights," Jacobs said.