Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs called a press conference today to discuss the airline’s ‘2018 Always Getting Better’ plan.
The world’s media gathered to discuss Ryanair’s UK business and current issues, hosted by Ryanair’s CMO.
Introducing the successes for Ryanair this year, he said: “The gap widens on lower fares against our competitors . Fares have been coming down over the past six financial years and the average fare is now just short of 40 euros.
“What we’ve said previously about our business plan – getting to 200 million by 2024 – that hasn’t changed. That would give us 20 per cent of European market.”
Ryanair: The airline’s CMO Kenny Jacobs called a press conference to talk business in the UK
Ryanair 2018 plans
He then laid out the changes planned for the airline for 2018:
- Price promise we will guarantee lowest fares
- Punctuality promise imrpves to 90 per cent on time
- New bags policy
- Dedicated EU261 team claimed handed in
- Worlds greenest airline – plastics free within 5 years
- Ryanair rooms travel credits and lowest price
- ‘Try something new’ travel hub
He revealed the company plans to push much harder into the hotel rooms category this year, and said: “We’re ready to disrupt that category. We want to create disruption, and we want customers who fly with Ryanair to book rooms with us too.”
As part of their price promise, the company has said customers who “find a cheaper fare” will see Ryanair “refund the difference + five euros into their Ryanair account.”
Ryanair: The airline issued a warning about post-Brexit flights being cancelled
Find a cheaper fare and we’ll refund the difference plus five euros into your Ryanair account
Recognising that punctuality is a key issue for customers, Jacobs continued: “Other than low fares, punctuality is the second biggest thing customers want.
“So, our punctuality promise has shown improvement on arrival and departure times 90 per cent of the time.”
Jacobs also went over the controversial new bag policy introduced late last year, revealing it was “working” for the company, and “airlines will follow suit”.
Despite being a time of big change for Ryanair, Jacobs assured customers, and said: “The one thing that won’t change will be our low fares, which we promise will not be beaten, and European customers will still enjoy the biggest and best choice of destinations, with the most on time flights, and a fantastic onboard experience as we grow our fleet, traffic and routes.”
Ryanair: The CEO Michael O’Leary was not at the press conference today
Ryanair Brexit plans
He then commented on Brexit, and said: “It is probably something we’ve talked a huge amount about over the past 18 months, at the moment politics have overtaken it, but nothing has changed and it’s still set for April 2019. There’s still no alternative to open skies.
“We will announce our summer schedule soon enough here for the UK, but that summer schedule will have a terms and conditions saying this is subject to the regulatory environment. Once we start selling tickets that will be in the post Brexit schedule from 1st of April 2019 – typically sold from September.
“We’re calling on Brussels and the uk government to give us a regulatory condition- we were saying this two years ago and everyone was saying that was Ryanair being alarmist.
“The situation hasn’t changed for us, we have applied for a UK AOC to make sure we can fly domestic routes within the UK if we need to, we’ve also flagged to shareholders that we need to work out the situation in terms of ownership.”
Jacobs continued: “We are looking at possibly moving the Ryanair base out of the UK and into other European bases, but that seems unlikely because there will be a period after April 2019, before Brexit really changes regulations where everyone will be kicking the can down the road on the back on of the UK deciding what the final settlement is.
“We will publish the summer schedule in September 2018 which will start from 1 April 2019. Within the ticket, we’ll say tickets are on sale but they’re subject to the regulatory enviroment.”
Asked what this would mean for customers and if this is why the company has made compenstation easier, he continued: “It becomes a clause of the way the ticket is sold that if the flight is cancelled, customers will get a refund.
“The Brexit period will be more drawn out, they WILL find a solution to open skies, I suspect they will give an extension for us to work out open skies, and for other industries that also have particular circumstances that need to be worked out.
“Ultimately, British people will always travel to Europe.”
Jacobs explained: “The French market was restrictive, but with the new president, there’s a new way open for business. We will recognise the unions – French expansion is a more interesting opportunity. It opens up France.
“Our commercial officer was there in January, and there are lots of opportunities in Paris, but also regional France. In 2018 we’ll add a couple of good sizes bases to connect Ryanair flights, there are candidates in Spain and Germany.”
“We are looking to do self-connecting flights with AirEurope in 2018. Also, Aerlingus are now doing direct to Seattle and other US destinations so we’re continuing to speak to them. We are hoping in 2018 there will be a self-connecting product with Ryanair and Aerlingus. We are no longer talking to Norwegian.
“I think it is really interesting in terms of what we’ve set out, and our legacy focuses on long haul travel. Ryanair does the dot to dot destinations and that’s what we see as the future for the industry.”
What is Ryanair’s stance on Brexit?
The European airline reportedly flew 44 million passengers to and from the UK in 2017.
But since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, Ryanair has repeatedly warned of the possibility there will be no flights between the UK and Europe once Britain leaves the EU.
The airline has been firmly anti-Brexit due to the changes the decision will bring to the aviation industry.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary warned the airline might have to withdraw its planes from the UK and instead base them elsewhere in Europe.
What Ryanair said about Brexit in 2017
2 August 2017: Michael O’Leary threatened to take flights off sale in September 2018 if an OpenSkies agreement isn’t reached
25 July 2017: Ryanair CFO Neil Sorahan said a “hard” Brexit was a cause for concern on BBC Radio 4
26 July 2017: Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs called on the UK Government for clarity on open skies or risk grounding flights after the EU divorce
27 June 2017: Kenny Jacobs said flights between the UK and the EU could come to a halt for months
15 June 2017: Kenny Jacobs warned UK expats could be stranded if flights stop after Brexit
31 May 2017: Michael O’Leary told hosts on CNBC there could be “months” of chaos with planes not being allowed to fly to and from mainland Europe
30 May 2017: At a press conference O’Leary issued a Brexit doomsday scenario saying “we’ll only have one aircraft per European base”
25 May 2017: O’Leary warned British holiday-goers to get used to travelling by boat as a hard Brexit will shut down all flights to and from the UK
6 April 2017: Neil Sorahan, CFO, issues a Brexit ultimatum – continue open skies or see NO EU flights from March 2019
16 February 2017: O’Leary threatens to CUT all flights to Europe