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Lastminute.com triumphs in a 15-year legal battle against Ryanair

After a lengthy 15-year legal battle, Lastminute.com has emerged victorious against Ryanair, securing the right to sell flights from the airline. 

Ryanair has been notorious for its aggressive campaigns against online travel agencies (OTAs), pushing passengers to book flights directly through its website. The airline has repeatedly sought to prevent OTAs from selling its flights, leading to several legal disputes worldwide.

In Switzerland, Lastminute.com recently announced that it had won a court case against Ryanair several weeks ago. The Swiss Supreme Court granted Lastminute.com the right to sell Ryanair flights, marking the end of a 15-year legal battle. The decision was hailed as a “major milestone” and a “win for consumers” by the online travel and leisure retailer.

The Swiss Supreme Court’s ruling focused on Ryanair’s aggressive campaigns against third-party websites selling its flights, stating that these actions were “contrary to the Federal Law Against Unfair Competition.” As a result, Ryanair has been ordered to pay Lastminute.com 49,000 Swiss Francs ($54,522) in compensation.

Legal Wins for Lastminute.com and Its Subsidiaries

In addition to the Swiss Supreme Court decision, two parallel appeal decisions confirmed that Lastminute.com and its subsidiary BravoNext acted lawfully. They will be allowed to continue offering customers the option to compare alternative prices for Ryanair flights through websites such as Lastminute.com, Volagratis.com, and Bravofly.com.

A lower court had previously found that Lastminute.com did not violate any intellectual property rights laws or breach any contractual obligations with Ryanair. Lastminute.com spokesperson Kirsten Beacock emphasized that the selling of Ryanair flights was “vindicated and confirmed as lawful” after the 15-year court battle.

Lastminute.com CEO Luca Concone, who took office in December following a Covid-19 relief financial scandal, welcomed the court’s decision. He stated, “We’ve always believed that empowering consumers in booking any flight ticket available in the market doesn’t damage any airline’s business. On the contrary, it fosters transparency and drives growth and competition in the market.”

Other Legal Disputes Involving Ryanair

While Lastminute.com has seen success in its legal battles against Ryanair, the airline continues to engage in disputes with other OTAs. In the United States, a Delaware judge recently declined to dismiss a counterclaim filed by Booking.com against Ryanair. The OTA alleges unfair competition and deceptive trade practices by the airline. However, Ryanair has also secured wins against OTAs, such as confidential settlements with Expedia in 2019.

Lastminute.com’s Financial Performance and Future Outlook

Lastminute.com reported its fiscal 2022 results, with revenue increasing by 103% compared to the previous year, reaching €304.9 million ($334 million). However, losses widened by 14%, totaling 15.1 million euros ($16.6 million). The company has experienced a strong start to 2023, with an 84% increase in bookings and a 38% increase in revenues for the first quarter compared to the same period in 2022. This growth aligns with the ongoing recovery of the European travel market.

Luca Concone has emphasized better accountability for managers following the financial scandal, along with the launch of three key projects focusing on enterprise risk management, HR flexibility, and cost control.

News Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | + Posts

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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