EU court: Ryanair can block unauthorized price comparisons

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LUXEMBOURG — The European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that Ryanair has the right to block or impose conditions on price comparison websites that mine data from the budget carrier’s online database without its permission.

The European Court of Justice said price and flight information linked to Ryanair’s website is not covered by a European Union directive on databanks, and that means the airline can limit its use by others.

The court ruled in a long-running dispute in Dutch courts between Ryanair and Dutch company PR Aviation over a practice known as screen scraping.

Ryanair welcomed the ruling and urged passengers to use the carrier’s own website to book flights. PR Aviation could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Ryanair will continue to pursue screen scraper websites such as PR Aviation to prevent Europe’s consumers from being misled over price and booking conditions,” airline spokesman Robin Kiely said in a written statement.

Ryanair is Europe’s biggest budget airline. Last month, the Dublin-based carrier said it expected net profits for the fiscal year ending in March to reach at least 810 million euros ($950 million).

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