Ryanair, Europe's largest airline, saw a decline in ticket sales after major booking sites like Booking.com, Kiwi, and Kayak stopped listing its flights. This led to a 1-2% drop in Ryanair's load factor in December and January. In response, Ryanair discounted fares on its website and expects no significant impact on its annual financial forecasts. The airline is involved in legal disputes with these online booking platforms.
Ryanair Responds to Online Booking Sites Dropping Its Flights
Ryanair has experienced a decrease in ticket sales after major online booking sites removed its flights from their listings. In early December, websites including Booking.com, Kiwi, and Kayak ceased selling Ryanair flights. Although these sites accounted for only a small fraction of Ryanair's bookings, the airline reported a 1% to 2% drop in its load factor - the percentage of seats sold per flight - in December and January.
To counteract this, Ryanair released more lower-priced fares on its own website and announced a 10% discount sale on over 400,000 fares for travel between January and March, as reported by The Guardian. Despite the removal from online travel agent (OTA) sites, Ryanair expects no significant impact on its yearly financial forecasts for passenger numbers or profits. The airline even welcomed the move, criticizing OTAs for charging extra fees and alleging scams.
Ryanair speculates that its removal from these sites might be linked to a recent Irish high court ruling against Flightbox for unlawfully using Ryanair's website content. However, Ryanair flights are still available on some platforms like Google Flights, which do not add hidden mark-ups and direct customers to Ryanair's website for bookings.
In their latest update, Ryanair revealed a 9% increase in passenger numbers year on year for December, though its load factor dropped slightly. The airline was also affected by more than 900 flight cancellations last month due to the Israel-Gaza conflict, and flights to Tel Aviv and Jordan were suspended. This update comes amid Ryanair's ongoing legal disputes with OTA sites, including legal actions in the US against Booking.com and its subsidiaries.
Announces New Flight Route from Marrakech to Murcia
Ryanair, a popular low-cost airline, is launching a new flight route connecting Marrakech in Morocco to Murcia in Spain. Starting April 3 and running until Oct. 26, this route will have two flights a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This move adds to Ryanair's biggest summer schedule in Morocco, which was announced last December.
According to Morocco World News, the airline is also introducing new routes from Oujda and Casablanca to Murcia. As part of a $1.4 billion investment in Morocco, Ryanair plans to operate over 1,100 weekly flights on 175 routes, including 35 new ones. The summer 2024 schedule will see 14 Ryanair aircraft based in key Moroccan cities.
The expansion also brings new jobs and covers two additional Moroccan airports, Beni Mellal and Errachidia. Ryanair's CEO highlighted the partnership's significance, expecting to transport over 5 million passengers. Morocco's tourism sector is gaining global recognition, with recent inclusions in top travel lists by CNN and Bloomberg.
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