Ryanair offers meta search engines an olive branch

Ryanair is looking to make peace with at least one part of the travel industry and instigated a remarkable u-turn over recent events by insisting it has “no problem” with price comparison websites.

Travolution can reveal that the no-frills carrier has reversed much of its anti-screen scraping rhetoric over the past two months and said it is now happy for sites to scrape fares and availability from its website.

The airline insisted that it would continue its policy of ordering companies – primarily online travel agencies – to stop if they sell Ryanair fares on their own sites.

However, Ryanair’s new stance on price comparison/meta search sites, which could see the likes of Kayak and Travelsupermarket back in the fray, will only be forthcoming to those that do not have a negative effect on the Ryanair.com site.

It is believed that some meta search engines use scraping technology which overloads the base servers at Ryanair.com.

A spokesperson told Travolution: “We have no problem with comparison websites, but if they impact on the performance of Ryanair.com – they will be asked to stop.”

The issue came to light this week when it emerged that Skyscanner had not been prohibited from pulling in fares by Ryanair, despite being named by the carrier as one of over 300 sites it had sent a cease and desist letter to earlier this year.

However, Skyscanner’s caching system is believed to be one of those favoured by Ryanair.

A spokesperson insisted that “Ryanair has no agreement with any 3rd party websites and do not endorse the use of any website apart from Ryanair.com”, although the recent turn of events

Travolution reported last week that Ryanair had enlisted the help of Microsoft and Navitare to continue a programme of blocking companies which sell Ryanair fares on their websites.

* Special Report: Ryanair ‘screen scraping’ saga

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