Ryanair is working to secure a deal to feed passengers onto Norwegian’s expanding network of low-cost long-haul flights.

Passengers departing from regional airports could be fed through the airline’s main departing hub on a Ryanair flight timed to seamlessly connect with the long-haul leg flown by Norwegian in a single transaction.

The first combination of flights could start as early as the first quarter of 2017.

The deal would open up Norwegian’s transatlantic routes to more airports across Europe at a low-cost and help guarantee higher priced seats to Ryanair.

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs told The Sunday Telegraph that the year-long talks “are now moving forward with more pace than when we first started discussing the deal – there’s new momentum behind it now”.

“Feeder deals will become an aspect of the European aviation market in 2017 and we’d like to see this deal come through as early as possible,” he added.

He confirmed that the deal means little to the airline in terms of filling its aircraft.

“We have a 95% load factor. We’re not doing this because we see 20 empty seats on a Ryanair flight. It’s more strategic.

“What’s in it for us is that it supports the logical development of the market the way we would want to see the market develop,” Jacobs said, adding that short-haul flying in Europe should primarily be handled by low-cost carriers.

The disclosure came a week after Norwegian won the right for its EU-based subsidiary in Ireland to start flights from Cork and Shannon to the US.