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Ryanair Rejects ITAA Claims, ITAA Counters Saying Airline Being ‘Disingenuous’

Ryanair Rejects ITAA Claims, ITAA Counters Saying Airline Being ‘Disingenuous’

Ryanair today rejected the Irish Travel Agents Association’s request that the airline be more helpful to travel agents in their request for refunds by claiming that it has not dealt with travel agents “for over 20 years,” despite previously having signed GDS agreements with Amadeus and Travelport. In a statement released this morning, February 2, Ryanair said it “does not permit travel agents or other unauthorised 3rd parties to make bookings on Ryanair.com. Any such travel agent bookings are in breach of Ryanair’s terms and conditions.”

This afternoon, the ITAA responded with a statement of its own, which declared: “the Association noted the ongoing communications and relationship between travel agents and Ryanair, stating that Ryanair have been dealing with travel agents for the past 20 years, taking bookings from travel agents on behalf of their customers and handling refunds where necessary. In addition to this, Ryanair have made their seats available for sale on booking platforms used exclusively by travel agents on behalf of their customers, such as Travelport and Amadeus.”

Travelport Agreement

On March 11, 2014, Ryanair announced that it was re-engaging with travel agents after 15 years when it signed a global distribution agreement with Travelport that allowed the carrier’s content to be made available to Travelport-connected travel agencies, including a majority throughout Ireland.

Following the agreement, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said he expected Travelport to be “only the first GDS” and, in response to why the carrier had overturned its previous policy toward GDSs and agents, he said, “We need to see the airline evolve.” He added, “travel agencies have changed and you have much more-efficient GDS distribution. The GDSs are more cost-conscious and the travel agent model has changed.”

Ryanair Signs Deal With Amadeus

In September 2014, Ryanair signed a similar GDS deal with Amadeus, with Michael O’Leary, in Cologne, expressing satisfaction at the time that the deal represented “a significant opportunity for us to reach a wider range of business and corporate customers…For business travellers, corporations and TMCs, this agreement will mean greater access to our low fares and Europe’s largest route network.”

Ryanair Statement ‘Disingenuous’

In response to Ryanair’s statement, ITAA president Pat Dawson told ITTN that there is “clear evidence that Ryanair has worked with agents. The photo [tweeted today by the ITAA] shows a Ryanair representative [then-Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs] with [then Travelport CCO) Kurt Ekert, after signing an agreement to make seats available for travel agents to sell. Both Travelport and Amadeus have a worldwide presence, and their systems are well integrated into travel agents all over the country and in most parts of Europe.”

In an official statement put out later by the ITAA, Dawson said, “Ryanair are well aware that they have been dealing with travel agents for the past 20 years. No one is saying that we have a direct relationship or contract with Ryanair, however they have taken bookings by travel agents on behalf of our customers, taken our money and, in the past, processed refunds when necessary. In addition to this, they have also made their seats available for sale through travel agents technology platforms Travelport and Amadeus. We believe that the statement issued by Ryanair earlier today to be disingenuous and we are asking for honesty and transparency in order to resolve these issues with refunds.”

He continued, “Customer safety and satisfaction is the number one priority for ITAA member travel agents. Our members do not under any circumstances use fake customer details when making bookings, nor do they overcharge customers with any hidden fees or add-ons. We are disappointed by these insinuations, as we have the highest respect for our customers. We wish to work with Ryanair to sort out any ongoing issues with refunds for our member travel agents and our customers, but we do not accept this narrative.”

Ryanair Didn’t Renew Amadeus Agreement

Ryanair ended its GDS agreement with Amadeus in December 2017 after both parties were unable to reach a renewed commercial agreement. In a statement issued at the time, Kenny Jacobs said “Our distribution partnership with Amadeus, which has been in place since September 2014, will end on 15 December next after a new commercial agreement could not be reached. We wish Amadeus well and thank them for their support during our successful GDS partnership. We will continue to work together through our use of the Navitaire platform, an Amadeus company.

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