Italy opens probe over Ryanair market dominance

ROME: Italy’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday it has opened an investigation into Ryanair over allegations the Irish low-cost airline is abusing its dominant market position.

The Italian Competition Authority accused Ryanair of trying to “extend its market power” by offering other tourist services such as hotel and car rental reservations.

Ryanair, which offers national flights along with services to and from Italy, “appears to impede travel agencies from directly acquiring airline tickets” from its website, the regulator said.

Instead, travel agencies have to buy tickets via a reservation platform that subjects them to “considerably less favorable conditions” in terms of prices and services, it said.

“The carrier’s conduct would harm travel agencies and consumers by attempting to extend its market power into the provision of other tourist services,” the authority said.

Ryanair is already at odds with Rome over a price cap on flights to and from Italian islands that was approved by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government last month.

The airline called the move illegal as it lodged a complaint with European Union authorities in Brussels and announced it would reduce the number of flights to Sardinia and Sicily.

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