Yesterday the carrier held a press conference to announce the creation of Ryanair Holidays with Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs boldly claiming the company was going to “transform the package holiday market” and that this was “another significant step on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel.”
No one should underestimate Ryanair’s drive and determination to be the best, but online travel agents and tour operators probably shouldn’t be panicking just yet.
One of the launch markets will be the UK (along with Germany and Ireland), which means that an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) is required.
This scheme was introduced in the 1970s to protect consumers in the event that a holiday company went bust. It’s pretty complicated but broadly speaking, companies are required to pay a premium of £2.50 per passenger into a fund, which is then used to refund or fly customers home in the event of a collapse.
Companies also have to apply for a yearly license based on the number of customers they expect to take abroad.
Given Ryanair’s success in other areas, you’d expect this number to rise in the future. A spokesperson told Skift that it “can be increased as passenger numbers grow.”
Even so, unless things change dramatically, Ryanair won’t be transforming the package holiday market any time soon.