Ryanair’s plans to become a bigger player in the wider travel ecosystem have taken a blow with the decision to close its separate vacations product.
The Irish carrier launched the service in December 2016 with plans to “transform the package holiday market” adding that it was “another significant step on our journey to becoming the Amazon of air travel.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair declined to comment specifically on the news and instead pointed to a message on the website, which said: “[G]oing forward, it is no longer possible to book a package on Ryanair Holidays. However, all previous bookings are unaffected and will be fulfilled as planned.”
Ryanair Holidays was one of a number of new business initiatives that the Irish carrier has launched over the past couple of years as it looked to diversify its revenue streams.
Ryanair originally enlisted the help of Spain-based tour operator Logitravel and accommodation provider World2Meet. However, a few months after the launch it fell out with Logitravel and partnered up with HLX Touristik.
Hotels and car hire still feature on the Ryanair homepage and it recently launched a new ticket-selling portal, partnering with Irish-firm Coras.
While Ryanair has admitted defeat many of its main rivals is putting considerable effort into growing their package holidays sales.
EasyJet CEO Johan Lundgren used to work for travel giant TUI Group and is putting his industry knowledge to work at the low-cost carrier. Lundgren brought in Garry Wilson to head up the business and Wilson wants to make EasyJet Holidays a serious player in the market.
Dart group, which owns low-cost airline Jet2 as well as package travel specialist Jet2holidays, has also seen considerable success in recent years.
All of which makes Ryanair’s retreat seem even stranger.