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French court condemns lastminute.com for ‘parasitism’ of Ryanair website

The Paris commercial court has ordered online travel agent lastminute.com to stop selling Ryanair tickets without the consent of the Irish low-cost airline, slamming the practice as "parasitism".

French court condemns lastminute.com for 'parasitism' of Ryanair website
Photo: AFP

“By using Ryanair's database” lastminute.com and Lmnext FR, the British company's French operation, “have committed an act of parasitism,” the court said in a judgement dated March 20, of which AFP obtained a copy.

Ryanair in a statement welcomed the ruling for putting a halt to the “free ride” of its website without consent.

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said the airline urges consumers “to avoid 'screenscrapers' such as lastminute and book directly on the Ryanair website,
the only place to find the cheapest Ryanair fares.”

The case was brought after Ryanair introduced restrictions on the use of its website.

These restrictions include banning travel agencies from buying Ryanair flight tickets from its online site.

The Paris court ordered the two lastminute companies to pay Ryanair 50,000 euros for the offence, with a further 1,000 euros ($1,200) per day payable if the “parasitism” doesn't stop.

On top of that the online travel agent was ordered to pay 10,000 euros towards Ryanair's costs in the case.

“We welcome this Paris Commercial Court ruling upholding Ryanair's right to determine its own distribution model which is guaranteed under the constitutional freedom of trade and industry in France,” Ryanair said in its statement.

The lastminute company, which has a month to appeal the decision, could not immediately be contacted for comment.
 

TRAVEL

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid

Budget airline Ryanair urged on Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid
Could Air France be forced to give up airport slots if it accepts more aid from the French state? Photo: AFP

Paris is in talks with European Union officials on the delicate issue of state aid to the French flagship carrier, which has already received substantial help from the government.

“Should yet another enormous and illegal state aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor,” a Ryanair statement said.

The low-cost airline is based in Ireland and regularly underscores the amount of money being allocated to keep struggling rivals in the air.

In exchange for more aid, Air France must be prepared to give up “a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon,” Ryanair argued.

French officials and the European Commission are currently discussing the terms of a further recapitalisation of the Air France-KLM group, which has suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

EU officials have already indicated that in exchange for their approval, Air France should give up coveted slots at Paris' Orly airport, which is essentially saturated now.

Air France on the other hand has indicated that such a move posed a serious threat because it was counting on Orly operations to help it rebound from the crisis.

French officials want to avoid putting Air France, which was struggling even before the pandemic, at a competitive disadvantage.

Ryanair urged EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to “stand firm in her discussions with the French government.

“Either Air France gets no state aid or proper remedies should be put in place to ensure a fair and level playing field for all airlines,” it insisted.

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