Budget airline Ryanair is looking to entice companies focused on their bottom line to choose its newly launched business class service, as it aims to become the default option for short-haul corporate travel.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest no-frills airline, has attracted controversy in the past with mooted ideas of standing- only flights and charging to use the toilets. But it has switched strategy in the past year to try to boost its public image positively instead by improving its customer service for passengers.
The Business Plus service, with prices starting from £59.99 in the UK and €69.99 in the Eurozone, offers flexible ticket changes, fast track airport security at select airports, priority boarding, a 20kg bag allowance and what Ryanair describes as “premium seats”.
However, corporate travellers should not expect the height of luxury as there would be no free food or a separate business class section. “Premium seats” would be front and rear row seats or the emergency seats, in a core no-frills business service.
Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, told City A.M. that the airline aimed to be the default business option for firms, and while business travellers currently made up about 25 per cent of passengers, it hopes to see these grow to around 30 per cent of a larger target of 120m passengers over the next five years.
Jacobs also highlighted the announcement today of new routes and more frequent flights from Stansted, with Ryanair passenger numbers from the airport expected to increase to 17m next year.
Ryanair also intends to make a bid for troubled Cyprus Airways by Friday.