BRUSSELS, March 6 (Reuters) - A connection deal between Ryanair and IAG’s Aer Lingus could serve as a model for future cooperation between Europe’s largest low-cost airline and long-haul carriers, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus have signed a co-operation agreement to offer connecting flights on each other’s services, Aer Lingus’s CEO was quoted as saying on Sunday.
“I would hope that at some stage next summer, you will see us feeding Aer Lingus’ transatlantic flights out of Dublin, and once we’ve done it once, I think we will provide a significant feed to lots of long-haul airlines,” O’Leary told a news conference in Brussels.
O’Leary said there were still some issues to be resolved for the deal to go into force with Aer Lingus, especially finding a solution to using different reservation systems.
While transatlantic routes are among the industry’s most popular and profitable, short-haul routes within Europe are often less attractive to operate as low-cost competition depresses ticket prices.
In response, airlines such as Lufthansa have established their own no-frills brands to reduce the cost of short-haul routes.
O’Leary said Ryanair was already in talks with other airlines to introduce connection deals.
“We’re in talks with lots of other airlines about feeds,” O’Leary said.
Talks between Ryanair and Norwegian Air Shuttle on a similar agreement failed last year. (Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Samantha Koester Editing by Mark Potter)