Switzerland’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of lastminute.com and its subsidiary BravoNext following a 15-year-long legal battle with budget giant carrier Ryanair.
At an end
On Thursday, the digital travel agency confirmed in a media statement that the most recent round of litigation had been resolved, ending 15 years of legal disputes and appeals within Switzerland. Alongside lastminute.com being permitted to continue selling Ryanair flights, the Irish low-cost carrier has been ordered to pay an additional CHF49,000 ($54,700) for costs already granted to lastminute.com.
Chief Legal Officer of lastminute.com Alessandra Reda praised the court’s decision as a significant milestone for the company, noting in a statement,
“We are proud of this result as this ruling reinforces our position and means the lastminute.com 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.”
Photo: Craig McAllister/Shutterstock
Ryanair initially levied legal action against lastminute.com and BravoNext in Switzerland in 2008, citing decreased competition within its sales of ancillary services such as car hire being unfair to consumers. Speaking to the media at the time, Ryanair’s then-sales and marketing director explained,
“Passengers should avoid unscrupulous online travel agents who charge exorbitant fees and deceive passengers. These unauthorized intermediaries routinely double the prices of Ryanair and fail to inform passengers of the terms and conditions.”
The long-running dispute has seen both parties face a variety of legal hurdles, including a Ryanair advertisement against lastminute.com being banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in 2007 for misleading the public. In addition to its dispute over ancillary services, the carrier has sought to crack down on its sales with third-party providers, such as SkyScanner. The fare comparison and online travel agency notably had an interim injunction placed upon it by German courts in 2020 for hiking up Ryanair fares on its website.
Last year, the carrier won a court case against lastminute.com within the Paris Court of Appeal, barring the website from selling Ryanair flights within France. Lastminute.com was ordered to pay out a €50,000 ($55,000) fine for ,free riding without Ryanair’s consent,” plus an additional €20,000 ($22,000) in legal costs.
Photo: Philip Lange I Shutterstock.
Ryanair welcomed the court ruling, noting that it was part of the airline’s broader battle with third-party sellers and screen-scraper sites selling fares from its website at a margin. Lastminute.com slammed the decision as a negative for consumers, explaining to Travel Weekly that other European court proceedings had ruled that the website’s conduct is “Fully legitimate and in the interest of consumers.”
Following this week’s ruling, lastminute.com’s Chief Executive Officer Luca Concone extended an olive branch to Ryanair, adding that he hoped both companies would be able to work collaboratively for the benefit of the aviation industry moving. Concone reiterated the company’s focus on supporting consumers and bolstering transparency across the market.
Ryanair has not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
What are your thoughts on the dispute between Ryanair and lastminute.com? Let us know in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Low-Cost Carriers
- Dublin Airport, London Stansted Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport
- Year Founded:
- Airline Group:
- Ryanair Group
- Eddie Wilson