Ryanair closes website, claiming ‘expansion of capacity’ is needed.

Posted by stephen on February 22, 2008

Ryanair, the budget airline, is closing its website for three days after missing a deadline set by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to remove misleading prices from the site.

The expensive shutdown will allow Ryanair to revamp its website and meet the OFT’s rules for including taxes and other charges within headline fares.

It could cost the carrier up to £20 million in lost revenue and is a further blow after it said that profits could halve next year because of worsening economic conditions.

The OFT gave Ryanair a deadline of January 31 to make changes to its fares. When this was missed, the Ireland-based carrier was given a new deadline of the end of February. The airline is understood to have told the OFT that next week’s three-day website shutdown was to enable it to comply with the new rules.

A spokesman for the airline said: “Our software was designed to cope with 50 million passengers a year and we have reached that, so we are introducing a new site capable of handling more.” A source familiar with Ryanair’s negotiations with the OFT said: “They were given until the end of February to make the changes and they are now shutting down to make sure they comply.”

The website will be shut for 74 hours from 10pm on February 22 to 11.59pm on February 25.

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