ADVERTISEMENT

Italy looks into claims of Ryanair breach of anti-competition rules

A Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX takes off from Lisbon airport, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
A Ryanair Boeing 737 MAX takes off from Lisbon airport, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. Copyright Armando Franca/AP.
Copyright Armando Franca/AP.
By Eleanor Butler
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

The Italian competition regulator is looking into allegations that the Irish airline abused its position as the country's leading airline.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ryanair is facing an antitrust probe over an accusation that it took unfair advantage of its market dominance in Italy, Il Messaggero newspaper reported on Monday.

The Italian antitrust regulator, which is expected to publish a decision later today, is investigating whether Ryanair acted in a way that caused "serious and irreparable" damages to other travel agencies, other airlines, and passengers.

The authority has claimed that Ryanair didn’t allow tour operators to access its offers and discounts on its website on several occasions, which may have forced these firms to offer higher prices.

In response to the claims, Ryanair has pointed to an earlier ruling from the Milan Court of Appeal.

In February, after online travel agents including Lastminute.com and Viaggiare accused Ryanair of uncompetitive practices, the court ruled that the airline’s model was "justified" and beneficial to consumers.

"This glaring contradiction between the Milan Court ruling and the AGCM (Italian Competition Authority) case shows that AGCM has wrongly ignored the Milan Court ruling which it doesn’t even refer to," Ryanair said in a statement.

According to the airline, its policy has led to "lower fares for Italian consumers", and the group claimed that a number of online travel agencies are "inflating airline prices with hidden overcharges or invented ‘fees"'.

Ryanair will have eight days to reply to the antitrust decision, and Il Messaggero reported that representatives of the airline are expected to meet regulatory officials on 18 April.

If the antitrust regulator finds evidence of anti-competitive behaviour, Ryanair will have to allow tour operators to access their deals.

This is not the first time that the budget airline has locked horns with Italian officials.

Last summer, the government set a limit on the price of flights to travel from Italy's mainland to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

The move was designed to allow greater freedom of movement, although Ryanair considered the measures to be illegal.

Share this articleComments

You might also like