A new report in the Danish trade magazine, Check-In, states that if Ryanair gain access to one the 5 landing and departure slots at Gatwick Airport held by IAG, then IAG are bound to let Ryanair participate in the Avios loyalty scheme.
Ryanair Could Join Avios as Part of Aer Lingus Takeover
The report is corroborated by The Belfast Times and goes into details about this unusual consequence of Ryanair taking over Aer Lingus. Avios has traditionally been a loyalty scheme for BA customers. The Spanish airline, Iberia, also operate their own gated version of the Avios loyalty scheme.
Ryanair have always cited increased costs to the consumer as one of the reasons why they don't operate a frequent flyer program. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that customers of the low-cost airline may soon be able to jet off on long haul flights with BA by using their Avios points.
The Avios frequent flyer program is operated by IAG (International Airlines Group), the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and Vueling. The EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has drafted up a series of demands for IAG with regards to the takeover of the Irish airline, Aer Lingus. One of these demands is that any airline which takes over one of IAG's 5 landing and departure slots at Gatwick Airport will gain access to the Avios frequent flyer program, if they do not already offer a frequent flyer program of their own.
The terms of this agreement would allow Ryanair to partake in the Avios loyalty scheme for a period of 5 years from the date that the landing and departure slot is relinquished. The Avios partnership would then be renewed on an annual basis, based on both parties agreeing to mutual terms. Furthermore, if Ryanair were to take over one of the 5 landing and departure slots at Gatwick Airport, they would be able to offer their customers the option to redeem points on the entire OneWorld alliance, which counts British Airways, American Airlines, Qatar and Qantas as members.
Last year, the British budget airline FlyBe became the first non-IAG operated airline to gain access to the Avios frequent flyer program. FlyBe customers can use Avios points to book flights with points, upgrading on-board or to car rentals.