Now boarding: Ryanair is selling packages to Barcelona and beyond / Simon Calder

Low-cost giant announces its new cheap holiday venture alongside warning there'll be a shortage of hotel rooms in Spain next summer

Ryanair is moving into package holidays. Europe’s biggest budget airline has launched Ryanair Holidays, offering hotels and apartments in addition to flights.

Rival carriers, such as easyJet, Jet2 and Monarch, have offered packages for some years.

Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s marketing director, said: “We want to be an Amazon of travel. We want people to come to Ryanair to buy more than flights.

“Consumers have been paying too much for package holidays for years.”

Initially travellers from the UK, Ireland and Germany will be able to assemble Ryanair package holidays, both to traditional Mediterranean destinations as well as cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona. The new venture is selling a four-night trip to Lisbon in March for £76, including flights and accommodation. Next May, a trip to Mallorca is available for £142 for a week.

The firm has teamed up with a Spanish tour operator, Logitravel, and the “bed bank”, World2Meet, to arrange the holidays. Holidays will be ATOL-bonded, for which passengers will pay £2.50. 

Mr Jacobs said that accommodation in Spain would be in short supply in the summer of 2017. The country saw its highest number of visitors ever this summer, as holidaymakers from the UK and Germany moved away from countries regarded as dangerous, such as Turkey and Egypt.

“Spanish Mediterranean hotels are 30 per cent more booked for next summer than they were at this time last year,” he said. 

Ryanair has also announced that flights will be sold only to people who are registered with the airline through its “My Ryanair” portal. Mr Jacobs said: “We’re against screenscrapers who try to mislead travellers.”

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