Picture from Ryanair.

LONDON – Today, Ryanair has announced an extension of their flight partnership with Spanish carrier Air Europa. From today, Ryanair fliers can now browse and book Air Europa connecting flights from 15 European cities to Madrid and link on to destinations across North, Central and South America.

This partnership extension ultimately lets Air Europa utilize the 130 million passengers that Ryanair carry per year. This extension for Ryanair is going side-by-side with their Always Getting Better program, which is strived at providing better customer experience, something that the carrier has had multiple news articles about in the past.

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Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs commented on this extension saying: “Ryanair is pleased to extend our partnership with Air Europa.  Millions of customers can now book Air Europa flights from over 15 European cities to Madrid, and onwards to more than 20 long-haul destinations across the Americas.”

“This connecting flights service on www.ryanair.com, operated by Air Europa, is the latest initiative under our ‘Always Getting Better Programme’ and is an extension of the successful partnership with Air Europa which we launched last year, and which we hope will continue for many years,” Jacobs added.

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Javier Hidalgo, CEO of Globalia Group, which runs Air Europa also commented on this agreement: “We are satisfied with the partnership’s successful development which has placed Air Europa at the forefront and has significantly strengthened its competitiveness in the sector. We continue to renew our fleet. Both long-haul, with the incorporation of the new Boeing 787-9, the most efficient plane in existence today; and middle and short haul with the progressive arrival of three new Boeing 737-800 this year.”

Ryanair’s Long-Haul Question

PHOTO: Ryanair.

The 16 countries with the likes of Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and the United States can now be added sufficiently to Ryanair’s portfolio without the need of adding services there themselves.

This can ultimately boost their passenger numbers through customers being able to book connections from each airline. However, with O’Leary potentially getting a taste for long-haul operations from the likes of Air Europa, does this reignite the rumors of Ryanair venturing out of Europe and further West?

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Between 2015 and 2017, there were talks between manufacturers and the Irish carrier about acquiring bigger aircraft to fly transatlantic and go into competition with the likes of Norwegian, WOW Air, and Primera Air. With O’Leary moving towards more partnership-based expansion, maybe it could be more financially viable for the carrier to take this approach rather than venturing across the pond themselves.

Maybe because of the amount of ULCC competition there currently is in the market on the long-haul basis, it may be ore counter-productive for Ryanair to go long-haul as it could be a gamble, especially as many transatlantic fliers may want better Economy and Premium Economy products, so they would be better inclined with other carriers such as Norwegian, BA, and Virgin.

All-in-all, rather than taking a harsh approach to this, it shows that rather than jumping the gun and launching Transatlantic flights as soon as they were in talks, O’Leary has obviously weighed up his options and shows his experience in trying to maintain profitability while carrying as many passengers as possible.