Irish low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair began trialing connecting flights through Rome Fiumicino, May 17, in a move away from point-to-point services.

The LCC offers connections on 10 of its flights through Rome, linking Alicante, Barcelona, Bari, Brussels, Catania, Comiso, Malta and Palermo via the Italian capital.

More connecting flight services are expected to be rolled out across the entire Ryanair network later this year as long as the Rome Fiumicino trial proves to be a success.

Ryanair CCO David O’Brien said: “Starting with an initial 10 Rome routes, customers will be able to transfer onto their next flight without having to go landside and have their bags checked through to their final destination.”

He added, “We are also continuing our discussions with Aer Lingus and Norwegian—and other potential partners—with a view to launching connections with third party airlines later this year.”

“Ryanair and Norwegian plan to start joint feeder flights from summer 2017 onward,” CEO Michael O’Leary told ATW recently.

Meanwhile Ryanair’s Italian business is growing fast, making the LCC Italy’s biggest airline in passenger numbers. “Italy’s flag carrier Alitalia can’t compete with Ryanair on domestic and short-haul routes,” O'Leary said, adding, “Working with us [on domestic/short haul routes] is the only solution for Alitalia’s restructuring.”

Ryanair expects to carry nearly 120 million passengers this year.

Kurt Hofmann, hofmann.aviation@netway.at