Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has said many European primary airports are "begging" the airline to use them.
Speaking today at the GBTA conference in Berlin, O'Leary admitted the airline has been "late to the party" when it comes to business travel but said it is now ready to step up and is targeting primary airports as a big part of that push.
"It's a total misconception that airports are central, you only have to look at Heathrow which is located in Middlesex," said O'Leary. "We've woken up late to this market but are now looking to fly to a lot more primary airports, as they're begging us to do it.
"However, we are making the airports we fly to primary. Stansted for example is the closest London airport to Cambridge where many of the large IT firms are based so they will look to use us when doing business in Europe.
"That's why we're opening up more and more bases in countries like Germany and it's becoming more obvious businesses don’t want to be paying £400-£500 for an airfare for a one-hour flight."
The outspoken CEO admitted he has had to change his views on the business travel sector, after previously vowing he would work with the industry again "over my dead body", but said this is because airlines are now getting a better deal.
"One of the things that crippled Ryanair in the early years was we had incredibly dysfunctional relationships with GDSs and agents. We paid 20% for distribution, of which 10% went to the GDSs for doing absolutely nothing, thankfully that model has now changed.
"What we're encouraging companies to do is if Ryanair is saving you 40-50% on your travel then share some of that saving with the travel agent," O'Leary said.
During the session he was asked about Ryanair's plans for a low-cost long-haul model. He said there is an opportunity but it won't happen for at least another five years because of the lack of available aircraft.
"We would need around 40 to 50 long-haul aircraft to start with, but there is definitely an opportunity for a cheap and cheerful long-haul service," he said.
"If we could do that, we would wipe the floor with many of the legacy carriers and redraw the way long-haul looks. An outstripped service could work but you have to start with scale, else it won’t get off the ground, which is why airlines like Norwegian, Wow and other Mickey Mouse airlines won’t work."
The Ryanair CEO also talked about 'mobile', describing it as the most "exciting part of our business".
"Mobile will revolutionise business travel in the next five years, which is one of the biggest challenges for GDSs and travel agents," O'Leary said.
"As Ryanair expands and grows so does the amount of data we have available on our systems, so we can send offers direct to our customers.
"That's why it's a challenge for other sectors of the industry because what we will be doing is building individual portals for our big corporates and we will do that with our corporate travel agents and if they're not onboard we will simply bypass them like we have done in the past."
O'Leary also announced that Ryanair's site will have a price comparison section for airfares from next year.
Click here for an in-depth look at the future of low-cost long-haul
Click here to read a round-up of the three-day conference and a heated discussion around the rise of Airbnb.