(Boursier.com) — Tensions between Ryanair and Italy are unlikely to ease in the short term. The local competition authority has opened an investigation into potential abuse of Ryanair’s dominant position in tourist services, including car rentals and hotel reservations, which the watchdog says hurt agencies travel and customers.
This announcement comes in the middle of a ‘dispute’ between the government of Giorgia Melon and Ryanair following a decree aimed at setting a price cap for plane tickets between the main transalpine cities and the country’s islands. The boss of the Irish group, Michael O’Leary, described the proposed cap as illegal and threatened to reduce its flights on the most popular domestic routes if the government maintained the measure.
While the latter is now considering changing this rule, it has granted the competition authority oversight of airlines. The ongoing investigation, which began after reports to authorities in May, thus shifts the focus from setting ticket prices to ancillary services provided to customers.
“Ryanair’s conduct in limiting the ability of travel agencies to sell airline tickets, which is generally the first purchase made to organize a vacation and represents the gateway to the sale of other services, would have effects not only on agencies but also on end consumers”, estimates the Competition Authority. One more fight to fight for Ryanair.