Will private jet customers choose Ryanair?

Ryanair is not a name you would immediately associate with private jet travel.

But the Irish low cost airline has announced it is making one of its 737-700 airliners available for private charter. The aircraft will be converted to a 60-seat corporate jet, offering business class style seating for private group hire.

It’s an interesting move for Ryanair, but the success will be down to key factors of timing, price, service delivery and perception.

How will Ryanair price this aircraft?

Despite some perceptions of the private jet luxury lifestyle, this is still a price-driven sector. With their existing crews, maintenance contracts, landing arrangements and fuel deals, it will be very interesting to see how competitively Ryanair price themselves to win business.

The market pricing for this aircraft type is £8,000 – £9,000 per flying hour, plus landing charges. For a flight such as London to Geneva, they could expect to charge around £33,000 for the return flight, which is around £550 per head for 60 passengers.

Ryanair’s timing is good. Sporting events and the summer season drive increased activity in the private jet market. There is increased market demand, especially with this year’s Euro 2016 football. There are several aircraft equivalent types in Europe of this type to charter, but there is also a good and growing market demand at this level.

Ryanair’s aircraft fleet is newer than others in the private market, and this may give them an advantage, as some clients will have a preference or insurance requirement for newer aircraft.

Perception will be part of the challenge

But how will senior business executives, sporting teams and VIPS feel about stepping on board a Ryanair private jet?

Interior of a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ)

Service delivery expectations are of course a completely different ballgame than Ryanair are used to – a private jet experience is as much about the ground as the air experience. How these passengers are handled, the flight attendants, the catering… these are the details that are the biggest step-up from the Ryanair low cost model.

If the 60-seat 737 performs well, it will be interesting to see if they convert their fleet further and take a next step up into the ‘Supersize’ Jets VVIP segment?

The same 737-700 aircraft can also be configured to a BBJ (Boeing Business Jet), ranging from 19-25 seats. This is popular with clients such as heads of state, royalty, governments and Ultra High Net Worths. In the future, will we see clients like these stepping onboard a Ryanair aircraft?

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