ABTA is planning to lodge complaints with the Office of Fair Trading and the European Commission claiming that Ryanair is engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. The association’s four main complaints centre on the airline’s refusal to allow service fees, cutting commission, computer reservation booking problems and barring agents from selling the lowest fares. It is expected to lodge the complaints within the next 10 days.


ABTA aviation committee chairman Sandy MacPherson said: “We have had awful feedback from agents over Ryanair and we have said ‘enough is enough’. It is trying to steer business away from agents.”


ABTA wrote to Ryanair sales and marketing director Tim Jeans earlier in the month to outline its objection to the carrier’s refusal to let agents charge service fees.


“Five weeks ago we had a discussion with Tim Jeans who said agents’ sales still accounted for 60% of business. He wanted to keep working with the trade,” said MacPherson.


In the past month, Ryanair has announced a commission cut to 5%, banned agents from offering the best fares as it promotes its ryanair.com Web site and threatened legal actions to retailers charging service fees.


Jeans said: “If ABTA remains unhappy, then it is entirely within its rights to go down the channels it has chosen. But its complaint that we are trying to put agents out of business doesn’t stand up.


“We will pay £7m in commission this year and bear the costs of expensive computer reservation systems.”