Ryanair is to launch legal proceedings against US car rental firm Hertz after the two companies ended a long-running partnership in a dispute over how Ryanair sells its tickets.
Ryanair said it had received notice on Thursday from Hertz "purporting to terminate Hertz's exclusive car hire supply agreement with Ryanair" and had instructed its lawyers to pursue Hertz for breach of contract and damages.
The Irish airline said that Hertz had informed it that it considered Ryanair's recent agreement with global distribution system (GDS) companies as a breach of their contract, which was not due to expire until 2020.
GDS systems allow some customers to buy Ryanair flights through third parties, bypassing Ryanair's website where Hertz's car hire services were heavily promoted. Ryanair in the past has sold tickets through its website exclusively.
Ryanair said it had been distributing through GDSs since April 2014 "with Hertz's knowledge and support."
Ryanair said all existing bookings would be honoured and it was looking for a replacement supplier.
"We have had a long and successful partnership with Hertz, and it's a pity that this has ended in such an unfortunate and untimely manner," Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary said in a statement.