Ryanair’s legal battle with Hertz

Irish airline Ryanair has started a legal battle with Hertz after the car rental firm objected to the fact the low-cost airline were utilising systems that allow tickets to be bought without using the carrier’s website.

Ryanair is suing Hertz after the American hire group abruptly terminated its contract with the carrier at midday on Thursday, accusing Ryanair of breach of contract.

Since April last year, Ryanair has been using global distribution services such as Amadeus and Travelport, which give travel agents direct access to all of its fares. It means that tickets can be purchased without having to go through the airline’s website, where Hertz’s services were advertised.

The two companies had agreed to an extension to Hertz’s contract in September 2013, which should have lasted until 2020. The dispute brings to an end a well-established partnership that began in 1997.

All bookings that Ryanair customers have made with Hertz will be honoured, but, in a blow to the airline, the quarrel between the two companies means that its passengers will not be able to hire cars through its website for around three months, the length of time it believes it will take to find a replacement for the US firm. The Hertz microsite on Ryanair’s website is now offline.

The airline, which expects to carry 100m passengers this year, is now launching legal action against Hertz for breach of contract and will seek damages.