International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

Competition Law: Online Travel Agents and Airlines Sarah Prager 1 Introduction. 2. The Business Model 3. The Ryanair Proceedings in the Republic of Ireland. 4. The On the Beach Proceedings in England. 5. The Competition Claim. 6. The Defence 7. EU Competition Law 8. Article 101 TFEU 9. Article 102 TFEU 10. Comment The battle between online travel agents and low cost airlines has only just begun. Watch out for: Ryanair’s defence in the OTB claim; Further campaigns targeted at consumers by both OTAs and low cost airlines; Further refund and competition proceedings all over the EU and in England and Wales; A final determination indicating the policy priorities of the courts in competition claims. 1. INTRODUCTION In 1841 Thomas Cook, an English Baptist preacher, struck a deal with the Midland Railway to organise the transportation of members of his temperance society, receiving a commission from the railway, and effectively becoming the world’s first recorded travel agent. The industry has never looked back. In 1903 the American Wright brothers completed the first controlled powered flight, and the Age of Aviation began. The 1920s saw rapid growth in the aviation industry and the founding of numerous airlines still operational today. The introduction of modern long-range commercial aircraft in the 1950s fuelled a desire for foreign travel which remains as strong today as it was then; and which, thanks to reductions in cost, is now much more accessible. Every year the UK government conducts a Travel Trends survey, which aims to identify British travel habits; in 20191: DOI 1 Travel trends – Office for National Statistics (