Low Cost & Regional

Ryanair’s OTA victory comes at a short term price

photo_camera Ryanair makes third travel agent deal in as many weeks, though this is by far the largest (Pic: Ryanair)

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 airline won an injection in the Irish High Court in December 2023 over an OTA called Flight Box, prohibiting it from breeching the Terms of Use of the Ryanair platform. The airline suggests that this ruling, coupled with a number of ‘know your passenger’ customer verification features it has added that has prompted OTAs including Kayak, Kiwi and Booking.com to delete flights for sale.

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.

READ: Ryanair loses long-running third-party booking case

READ: Ryanair boss hits out at ATC charge hike

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.

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