Ryanair fires ‘ticket tout pirates’ salvo at third parties

Ryanair has attacked online retailers describing them as “ticket tout pirates”, as its battle to stop agents screen-scraping its site intensified this week.

The budget airline has simultaneously dismissed a complaint lodged against it with the European Commission as ‘irrelevant’.

This latest attack on the intermediary market was prompted by the ‘acceptance’ of a complaint from Multicom to the Commission.

However, a spokesman for Ryanair dismissed the complaint and claimed it was EU procedure to accept all complaints no matter how “spurious”.

Reservation system specialist Multicom predicts the budget airline’s legal action to prevent agents from screen-scraping in the UK, will fail.

Managing director John Howell said agents were hampered by what it claims is a breach of EU anti-competitive trading legislation. 

The technology specialist believes a number of successful defences against similar action from Ryanair across Europe will count in the trade’s favour.

In this latest tit for tat, Ryanair pointed out that it had successfully won actions against agents in Germany and Italy and claimed it had forced TUI International into a cease and desist agreement in the UK.

Howell said: “It would be far more productive for all concerned if we were able to resolve this amicably for all parties.

“Nevertheless, our business, and that of the thousands of hard working Agents who are just trying to get the best deal for their customers is being restricted by what we are advised is a breach of the EU legislation regarding anti-competitive trading.

“It is disappointing that Ryanair’s litigious conduct is designed solely to secure and extend its own dominance of the travel market, leaving us with no alternative than to consider every route open to us to bring this matter to an end, added Howell.

The airline’s spokesman said it would continue to block unauthorised agents who “rip-off” consumers.

The spokesman added that Ryanair is also reviewing legal action against Thomas Cook following a claim the operator was charging a fuel surcharge on Ryanair flights.

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