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German Court Rules Against Ryanair

March 19, 2002

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ A German court ruled Tuesday that Irish-based budget airline Ryanair can’t advertise its new base in the country as ``Frankfurt-Hahn″ airport, arguing that it is 1 1/2 hours by car and more than 60 miles from Frankfurt.

Still, the company claimed it could use the name provided it made clear to customers the airport’s location and how to travel on to Frankfurt.

The ruling by the Cologne state court was the latest round in a battle between Germany’s biggest airline, Lufthansa, and Ryanair over the latter’s advertising of its flights from Hahn.

Lufthansa, which flies out of Frankfurt’s main international airport 10 minutes by train from the city, has argued that the comparison is misleading. Last month, the Cologne court issued a preliminary injunction ordering Ryanair to stop comparing fares from Hahn with Lufthansa’s fares from the main airport.

The court on Tuesday backed Lufthansa’s objection to Ryanair advertising the former military air base as ``Frankfurt-Hahn,″ saying that the airport is in a different federal state and is closer to other major cities such as Mainz, Wiesbaden and Koblenz than it is to Frankfurt.

But in a statement released late Tuesday, Ryanair welcomed the court’s ``clarification″ and said it had written to the court asking just what information it needed to include in its future advertising so that it can continue to use the name.

Ryanair expanded its operations at Hahn last month, making it the airline’s second base in continental Europe. Its other bases are Dublin, London’s Stansted and Charleroi, Belgium.

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