Ryanair plans to appeal against a Swiss court which backed lastminute.com’s owner following a ten-year battle with the no-frills carrier.
The court in Lugano ruled that LM Group can continue to offer consumers the ability to compare and book Ryanair flights through its group of European websites.
The airline was also ordered to pay 140,000 Swiss francs in compensation to the firm which runs the websites lastminute.com, volagratis.com, rumbo.es, weg.de and bravofly.com.
Ryanair has long been battling third party travel websites over their right to offer its fares as it seeks to sell direct via Ryanair.com.
However, the court decided that LM Group subsidiary Bravonext SA “does not violate any intellectual property rights or any contractual obligation towards Ryanair in performing its online travel agency activities in respect of this airline flights”.
The court also condemned Ryanair for “unfair competition” having claimed in a press release dated January 24, 2008 that Bravonext illegally sells Ryanair’s tickets through its portals.
As the activity of LM group was deemed “totally legitimate”, the Swiss court ordered Ryanair to pay CHF140,000 in compensation.
LM Group CEO Marco Corradino claimed: “This is a historic decision that’s taken more than ten years to arrive and will forever change the travel landscape in Europe.
“It confirms that our service, which allows our customers to compare and book all flights from all airlines in the market, doesn’t hurt any business.
“On the contrary, it encourages fair competition in the market and brings strong value to the customer by offering a mix of unique travel solutions from several providers – something Ryanair and traditional airline companies can’t offer.”
The onine travel group’s chief legal officer Alessandra Reda added: “LM group has already won against Ryanair in three other proceedings across Europe.
“This ruling reinforces our position and means LM group can continue to ensure customers get access to extensive flight offerings, both as a stand-alone product or as part of a package holiday.”
A Ryanair spokeswoman said: “We have reviewed the decision and we intend to appeal.”
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