Ryanair suspends package holiday service within weeks of launch
Existing bookings secure, airline says
Ryanair has suspended the package holiday service it said would help it become the 'Amazon of air travel'.
Ryanair Holidays was launched in Ireland, the UK and Germany on December 1st, with other markets expected to follow in 2017.
The service has been temporarily suspended, however, following what the airline says was illegal screen-scraping of its fares by a "software provider".
"Ryanair confirms it has temporarily suspended its Holidays service, and terminated its agreement with the software provider who was found to be unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s low fares," it said in a statement.
Screen-scraping involves the use of software to collect information from websites and systems, and Ryanair has a rich history of taking action against companies it sees as 'scraping' such information for their advantage.
Ryanair Holidays involved a partnership with Spain-based tour operator, Logitravel, and accommodation provider, World2Meet.
Logitravel has confirmed the ending of its agreement with Ryanair, but denies using "web-scraping techniques" on the airline's website.
"We are connected to a Global Distribution System like Amadeus, as well as other air travel consolidators, which provide us with the product," the company said in a statement issued to Independent.ie Travel.
"The partnership was ended by Ryanair and not Logitravel," it stressed, but added that it understood the decision, admired the airline and its CEO "both professionally and personally", and wished Ryanair good luck with the project.
"If they no longer wish to partner with us, it just means we take a step back and we accept that you can't always win."
Ryanair has apologised to its customers for any inconvenience.
It re-emphasized that it would not allow any third party software provider to “screenscrape” and "unlawfully re-sell" its fares.
"All existing Ryanair Holidays bookings are secure and Ryanair is currently finalising an agreement with a new software provider," it added.
The new provider is expected to be in place "shortly", it says.
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