In an attempt to undermine high-priced airlines, the CEO of Ryanair announced plans of introducing gaming and gambling onboard his airline flights as soon as 2007 which could result – if successful – with the airline offering free tickets for everyone. Michael O’Leary the founder of Ryanair was quoted as saying, ‘Ultimately entertainment will be where the money is.’
Last year Ryanair, Europe’s biggest discount airline, were buoyant with the success of other promotions which resulted in giving away about 25% of their flights for free. Besides plans of introducing in-flight gaming and gambling, Ryanair already generates ancillary income from other services such as car leasing and hotel bookings.
His hopes are so high that he sees potential revenue of ‘a multiple of euros per passenger’ which could within four to five years ensure free flights.
Previous endeavors to expand in-flight entertainment with the launch of an onboard individual video and entertainment system resulted in failure, as only 7-8 percent used that facility. Ryanair had high hopes that a quarter of its annual 35 million passengers would use the facility. The system was then withdrawn from their fleet.
Mr. O’Leary expects to announce a gambling partner within the next 2-3 months as he tries to revolutionize the traditional image of the airline industry which he admitted is built around high-cost tickets and terrible food.