Business Irish

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Ryanair goes back to court for fight on two fronts

Michael O'Leary poses for photographers after a press conference at Weeze airport near Duesseldorf. Photo: BERTHOLD STADLER/AFP/Getty Images
Michael O'Leary poses for photographers after a press conference at Weeze airport near Duesseldorf. Photo: BERTHOLD STADLER/AFP/Getty Images

Laura Noonan and Tim Healy

RYANAIR yesterday kicked off two fresh legal challenges in Dublin's High Court, making good on its reputation as Europe's most legally active airline.

In the first case of its kind, the Michael O'Leary-led airline is suing a travel website for using Ryanair's booking engine to sell tickets.

Separately, the airline launched a sixth legal challenge against the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR).

In the case against the travel agents, Ryanair is asking the High Court to restrain Amsterdam-based Bravofly from "screen scraping" content from the airline's website, enabling passengers to use Bravofly's website to book seats on Ryanair's online booking engine.

A staunch defender of its rights as the exclusive seller of Ryanair tickets, the airline said it wrote to Bravofly and asked them to undertake to cease the "screen scraping" activities.

No such undertakings were secured, the airline said, prompting yesterday's legal action.

In the action, Ryanair is also objecting to Bravofly's alleged use of the airline's logo, and is asking the travel website to remove links to Ryanair's site. Remedies sought include court orders restraining the alleged activities and various damages.

Charges

In its second High Court appearance, Ryanair formally launched a challenge to the CAR's decision to approve an increase in Dublin Airport's check-in charges.

Mr O'Leary had signalled the challenge in mid-April after the regulator's March decision to allow the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) increase check-in desk charges by about 50pc.

At the time, he said he thought the appeal had a "very good chance of success" because Ryanair's case was "much more blatant" than it had been in previous challenges the airline lost.

Yesterday, the court heard Ryanair believes the CAR's decision is unfair and based on legal errors, as the DAA had already recovered the check-in desk costs from its airport charges.

Counsel for the regulator said they were seeking to have the Ryanair action dismissed on grounds it had been initiated earlier in a procedurally defective manner and in light of a previous High Court decision relating to airport charges.

The case was, however, admitted into the big business division of the High Court, the Commercial Court.

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