Ryanair has scored a victory against some of the online travel agents (OTAs) it has has been battling, but it admits that having them remove Ryanair flights from their websites ‘will reduce load factors’ in January and is likely to soften short-term yields.
The ruling followed a similar case in the UK High Court in October 2023 where the airline took popular OTA On The Beach to court. On that occasion the OTA won.
Ryanair has waged a campaign against the OTAs over the last couple of years, saying that the companies that it regards as ‘pirates’ have been artificially inflating prices for consumers on both seat bookings and ancillary services, as well as using falsified details, such as fake email addresses in order for the OTA website to place a booking on the airline’s site. This, according to Ryanair, made it impossible to contact customers in the event of flight cancellations or delays.
Although the removal was welcomed by the airline, a statement from the airline cautioned: “While these OTA Pirates only account for a small fraction of Ryanair’s bookings, we expect the sudden removal of our flights from these OTA websites to reduce short term load factors by 1% or 2% in Dec and Jan and also to soften short term yields as we respond by making more low fares available directly to consumers. We do not expect this recent removal of OTA Pirate bookings will materially affect our FY24 traffic or PAT guidance”.
The airline’s fares will continue to be available through aggregators such as Google Flights, as these do not add mark ups to its prices, instead directing passengers to make their bookings directly on the Ryanair.com website.