The shock statement on the Ryanair website last night follows what is believed to be a legal wrangling behind closed doors since May this year, just 15 months into the contract between the airline and Travelscape, the subsidiary of Expedia handling the hotel contract.
Ryanair said the agreement “operated satisfactorily in its early stages” but in recent months the online travel agency had breached “payment obligations”.
The carrier had attempted to “regularise the agreed payements” but Expedia had since failed to remedy the situation and honour the contract.
Expedia hit back immediately following the claims by Ryanair, arguing Ryanair “does not have the right to terminate our agreement” – slated for 8 November 2008.
Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said: “”We are disappointed by the statement made by Ryanair earlier today, as we believe that Expedia has complied in every respect with the terms of our agreement with Ryanair, including all payment terms, and that Ryanair has failed to honor its obligations under that agreement.
“We have a long history of solid relationships with our partners and take our contractual obligations seriously; we expect our partners to do the same.”
Ryanair’s Michael Cowley said Expedia was given a “unique opportunity” to gain exclusive access to passengers but “regrettably” the recent situation meant Expedia would be served 30-days notice.
Cowley claimed the airline had already received a number of enquiries from other providers for the hotel contract.