Ryanair has responded to a fall off in traffic by launching a series of promotional fares and promising to refund double the difference if passengers find a cheaper price with any other airline.
AT a press briefing, CEO, Michael O'Leary, said that Stansted Airport had doubled its handling fees from ”6 to ”12, which would mean that with its ”10 fares Ryanair would be subsidising air travel by ”2 per sector. However, the additional extras will make this highly unlikely as passengers will continue to pay some extra fees for baggage, early boarding and the use of credit/debit cards ” some of which must be deleted before booking on the website rather than added.
Ryanair launched what it termed its lowest fare guarantee, or "we pay you double the difference" campaign, which will run until 12 June, by which time both outward and return journeys must be made. In other words if passengers can find a lesser fare on the same sector, Ryanair will send a cheque for double the difference within five working days.
Claims of a cheaper fare found elsewhere have to be made within one hour of making the booking and it will cost 10p a minute to make the call. Some estimates are that for a typical fare where Ryanair charges ”30 per sector, and a competitor ”25 for example, the gain is likely to be ”20 on a single return trip and ”40 for two passengers.
Under the new promotion, claims can only be made for flights where there is a direct city pair comparison as defined by IATA (International Air Transport Association) says Ryanair, which is not a member. This would rule out rule the Norwegian Air Shuttle service from Stansted to Oslo. Ryanair flies parallel services from Stansted to Oslo Torp.
Following widespread press scepticism on low cost fares, Ryanair also revealed that it was to amend its pricing policy so that customers booking via the website would now see a minimum cost to include taxes and charges of ”10 ($20).
Asked to clarify the situation concerning the proposed in-flight telephone and text service, O”Leary said it could be delayed by up to six months. He also made clear that he had no intention to take Ryanair across the North Atlantic and said that if another company were to be established, it would be at least five years from now.
Questioned about the latest figures for the carrier, O”Leary did say that load factor in the previous quarter was down 2%, although he was keen to counter this with new services: "Expect some substantial route announcements in September," he said.
And on the luggage charge issue O”Leary noted: "We are delighted with our baggage charge policy. We are now down to 54% passengers using the hold, as against 75% under the previous mandate. We want it down to 25%."