Included among new services for year three of Ryanair’s ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, is a Ryanair Schools Travel service to be launched this summer – and it has already received reactions from the Irish Travel Agents Association.
Robin Kiely, Head of Communications, sai: “Ryanair Schools Travel will launch this summer as a dedicated and bonded ‘travel agency for school tours’. It will be a fully bonded travel agent, based in Ireland for Irish schools, who can enjoy discounted group fares and will have access to a dedicated schools travel team. School fares will be available on flights across the full Ryanair network, with schools able to book and manage their own trips on a bespoke platform.”
ITAA President Cormac Meehan told Irish Travel Trade News: “It is a very interesting proposition. I welcome the fact that Ryanair are applying for a travel agents or tour operators licence, we are now on the same and a very level paying pitch.
“It will be a challenge for the new licensee to see if they will present the same and full range of fares and tariffs available in the market as our ITAA Members do. Our Members in 140 retail and online outlets throughout the State focus on giving our clients in all categories, including students (who are one of our best targeted segments), value for money, excellent personal face-to-face service and a first-class customer service experience. We are not afraid of new entrants into the market, we wish them well and we trust in the consumer’s discernment. We provide a personal consumer-orientated service in every county in Ireland.”
Pat Dawson, ITAA Chief Executive, responded: “No airline has the experience to become a travel agent at the flick of a switch. If they think they do, what a mess they will make.
“As the saying goes, they own the ball, the pitch and the players and now they want to be the referee. With that kind of dominance comes a worry that they are in control of the market and therefore prices, and that is not good for the consumer.”