According to what was hypothesized in the provision, the Irish company “would leverage the dominant position held in the markets in which it operates to extend its power also in the offer of other tourist services (for example hotels and car rental) to the detriment of travel agencies – online and offline – and the customers who use them to purchase these services”
The Competition and Market Authority has initiated proceedings for possible abuse of a dominant position of an exclusionary nature by Ryanair DAC. According to what was hypothesized in the provision, initiated following various reports received starting from last May, Ryanair – the leading operator in scheduled passenger air transport on national flights and to and from Italy – “would leverage the dominant position held in the markets in which it operates to extend its power also in the offer of other tourist services (for example hotels and car rental) to the detriment of travel agencies – online and offline – and the customers who use them to purchase such services”.
The position of the Antitrust
For the Antitrust, in particular, Ryanair “on the one hand appears to hinder the purchase – by agencies – of airline tickets directly from its website, on the other it allows the purchase of the same only to traditional agencies via the GDS platform at conditions which would be far worse in terms of price, breadth of offer and post-sale ticket management”. “Ryanair’s conduct, aimed at limiting the sale of airline tickets to travel agencies – which are generally the first purchase made when organizing a holiday and which represent the ‘access point’ for the sale of further services – would have – we read in the Antitrust note – effects not only on the agencies but also on the final consumers: it would in fact lead to worsening conditions from a quantitative and qualitative point of view and unjustified difficulties in managing the booking”.
For Assoutenti, the Authority must extend the investigations to the rates charged by the company and to all the practices implemented by the carrier to increase its profits. “We believe it is useful to ascertain whether Ryanair abuses its position to damage travel agencies but at the same time we ask to broaden the Antitrust action through a verification of all the practices implemented by the airline, especially in terms of public fares – explained the vice-president Gabriele Melluso – It is necessary to understand whether algorithms and tariff policies aimed at increasing the operator’s profits are all legitimate and to sanction any incorrect behavior to the detriment of users”.