By Tiernan Cannon
Budget airline Ryanair has dipped its toe into the world of transatlantic air routes this week, following the announcement of a partnership with Spanish-based airline Air Europa. The airline’s 130 million customers can now book Air Europa long-haul flights from the Ryanair website, on 20 long-haul routes from Madrid to 16 countries in North, Central and South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the United States.
The partnership is the latest initiative delivered under year four of Ryanair’s ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) customer experience programme. The second phase of the partnership will be launched later this year and will allow Ryanair customers to connect onto Air Europa long-haul flights through Madrid. Ryanair is continuing its discussions with a number of other long-haul airlines on potential feed and connecting flight partnerships.
The ‘Amazon of Travel’
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary spoke in Madrid about the partnership and what it means for the future of his airline. “This partnership is the latest AGB enhancement as we continue our journey to becoming the ‘Amazon of travel’,” he said. “We continue to speak to a number of other long-haul airlines about potential connecting flight partnerships and we look forward to offering our 130 million customers an even greater choice and range of long-haul services in 2018.”
Javier Hidalgo, CEO of Globalia Group, Air Europa’s parent company, reflected O’Leary’s optimism, noting that the partnership would strengthen his his airline’s competitiveness and provide enhanced connectivity for future customers. “This partnership with Ryanair gives us great satisfaction, and it puts us at the forefront of business and allows us to strengthen our competitiveness,” he explained. “With this agreement Air Europa doubles its connectivity with the European continent, adding 53 European cities.”