Ryanair has discontinued its package holiday service known as Ryanair Holidays.

A statement on the company website says "Ryanair Holidays is discontinuing its service".

It adds that "going forward, it is no longer possible to book a package on Ryanair Holidays. However, all previous bookings are unaffected and will be fulfilled as planned."

Ryanair Holidays was launched in December 2016, with the airline saying the move was designed to take on tour operators such as TUI by offering flights with accommodation and transfers bundled together for the first time. 

At the time the carrier said it wanted to become the "amazon.com of travel" by boosting sales of third-party services such as hotels and car hire via its website.

Commenting on the closure of Ryanair Holidays, The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) said selling airline seats is very different to selling a packaged holiday.

ITAA Chief Executive Pat Dawson added that "many other airlines have faced similar challenges when looking to develop package-holiday operations in the past.

"The new Package Holiday Directive also adds to the difficulty when selling pre-arranged or customised packaged holidays and requires expert knowledge and experience."