Air Europa (UX, Palma de Mallorca) has announced it has entered into a commercial partnership agreement with Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair (FR, Dublin Int'l).

During a press conference on Tuesday, May 23, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said secret talks between the two sides have been going on for the past several months ahead of this agreement.

The deal is to be implemented in two stages: the first will see Ryanair selling tickets for Air Europa's transatlantic flights to Latin and North America. The second will see Ryanair feeding traffic into the Spanish carrier's Madrid Barajas hub later this year. The move echoes previously announced plans to feed Aer Lingus (EI, Dublin Int'l) and Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) longhaul flights with regional European passengers via Dublin Int'l and London Gatwick.

“We are pleased to announce this exciting partnership with Air Europa, which allows our customers to browse and book flights on 20 long haul routes from Madrid to exciting cities in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and the USA on the website," O'Leary said.

"Ryanair operates over 50 short haul routes to/from Madrid and now our customers can book  flights on Air Europa long haul routes to destinations including Buenos Aires Ezeiza, Havana Int'l, and New York JFK. We continue to speak to a number of other long haul airlines about potential connecting flight partnerships and we look forward to offering our 130m customers an even greater choice and range of long haul services in 2018.”

The move is expected to allow Air Europa to better compete with the likes of the IAG International Airlines Group and its recently unveiled LEVEL (LV, Barcelona El Prat) longhaul low-cost carrier, set to launch on June 1, and Norwegian (DY, Oslo Gardermoen) which is planning to start Europe-South America flights in due course.