Ryanair attacks Lufthansa 'dirty tricks'

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The Independent Online

The row between Ryanair and Lufthansa over the low-cost carrier's attempt to set up a new European hub at Frankfurt intensified yesterday after the Irish airline lodged a fresh complaint with Brussels over the German flag carrier's behaviour.

Ryanair accused Lufthansa of engaging in "dirty tricks" by trying to stop it from advertising its new service in Germany. Michael O'Leary, its chief executive, said the German carrier had launched a series of "ridiculous" court actions, seeking to prevent Ryanair from advertising price comparisons with Lufthansa.

Mr O'Leary has now submitted a complaint to both the EU Competition Commissioner, Mario Monti, and the EU Transport Commissioner, Loyola de Palacio, about Lufthansa's tactics.

Ryanair first lodged an objection in Brussels against Lufthansa last November after the German airline complained about Ryanair advertising the launch of services from Frankfurt when, in fact, the airport it will fly from, Frankfurt Hahn, is some distance outside the city.

Commission sources said, however, the dispute was a matter for the German courts rather than Brussels.

Ryanair will begin services from Frankfurt Hahn next month. It intends operating to 10 destinations, including London, Milan, Pisa, Oslo, Glasgow and Shannon, and is aiming to attract one million new passengers.

Separately, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint about Ryanair's fares promotion last autumn in the wake of the 11 September attacks. The ASA concluded that the campaign was misleading by not making it sufficiently clear that the cut-price offer did not apply to weekend flights.