Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has denied he is prepared to work with online travel agents (OTAs), saying his comments were “misreported”.
O’Leary told Travel Weekly he would “continue to fight OTAs” which are unlicensed by Ryanair and screen scrape the airline’s website.
Ryanair has grown into Europe’s biggest carrier insisting passengers can only book direct – though agents insist they book a significant proportion of Ryanair seats.
O’Leary was widely reported to have switched strategy last month following a minor profits warning and to have said he would work with OTAs as part of a shift that would also see Ryanair appeal to business travellers.
But O’Leary told Travel Weekly this week: “It was misreported.”
He said: “We have accepted that you can’t get rid of or block out a lot of the OTAs.
“We license some where they are giving people the price comparison websites where they send people through to make the booking.
“But we continue to oppose the likes of eDreams and other screen scrapers where they engage in misleading customers to believe they are booking Ryanair when they are booking with eDreams.”
O‘Leary said: “They don’t give us the email address so we can’t communicate with those passengers.
“So no, the unlicensed ones – we will continue to fight them.”
The story that Ryanair would work with agents originated in a report by business news agency Bloomberg on September 18. This reported: “Ryanair aims to become more user friendly with a simpler website and cooperation with travel agents.”
The Bloomberg story included several comments by O’Leary and reported: “O’Leary also said he’s prepared to sell tickets via travel agents.”However, it had no direct quote of O’Leary saying this.
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