DUBLIN, March 9 (Reuters) - Irish budget airline Ryanair launched a private jet service on Wednesday in its latest foray into the higher-margin business sector, offering a single Boeing 737 for charter to companies and sports teams with 60 leather business-class seats.
The plane, which is painted in the Ryanair livery, will be offered "at the most competitive rate around," said spokesman Robin Kiely. Champagne and gourmet food will be available at extra cost, he said.
Ryanair became Europe's largest carrier by passenger numbers by undercutting rivals on price by reducing service to the bare minimum and charging customers for food and to carry their bags.
But in 2014 it launched a flexible business fare and revamped its customer service, offering freshly brewed coffee and pre-assigned seats.
Ryanair currently offers planes for charter but frequently has no availability during its main summer season. The airline will decide whether to fit out additional planes with business class seats, depending on demand, Kiely said. (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Greg Mahlich)