Ryanair seems to be battling on all fronts with ABTA becoming the latest organisation to take umbrage with the way the low cost airline conducts its business.
The association has written to the Office of Fair Trading in the UK to complain about what it says are “misleading price indications” in Ryanair`s advertising.
ABTA argues that the headline fares advertised by Ryanair exclude fees, taxes and other charges. It says this makes it impossible for consumers to compare like-with-like and puts operators and other airlines at a competitive disadvantage.
An ABTA spokesman told TravelMole that the issue was particularly relevant following its recent announcement that all agents must now include the tour operators` security charge in the basic price of a holiday.
But Ryanair has hit back - saying that if ABTA wants consumers to have accurate information it should make travel agents declare the commissions they receive.
In a statement the company said: “Travel Agents have been misleading consumers for years. They do not like low fares airlines like Ryanair, because Ryanair does not use them or offer them ridiculous commissions for selling tickets. Ryanair fare advertising is tax inclusive and handling charges are stated in every ad. Ryanair is Europe`s No.1 low fares airline, and will carry around 23 million passengers this year, by dealing directly with consumers, cutting out middlemen like travel agents and offering consumers the lowest fares.”
Ryanair added: “If ABTA are interested in giving consumers accurate information, perhaps they should require travel agents to declare all commissions received from airlines when they give ‘independent travel advice’ in their own advertising.”
Meanwhile Ryanair is also facing scrutiny over the subsidies it receives for operating to and from some airports. The airline has been forced to suspend flights to Strasbourg next month over the issue, with its routes to and from Charleroi airport in Belgium also under investigation.