Car hire business fails to get injunctions against DAA

Case concerns row over collection of hire company’s customers at Dublin Airport

DAA claims Easirent.com is carrying on business activity at the Dublin Airport’s facilities in breach of bye-laws. Photograph: iStock

DAA claims Easirent.com is carrying on business activity at the Dublin Airport’s facilities in breach of bye-laws. Photograph: iStock

 

An online car hire business has failed to get injunctions preventing DAA stopping it collecting its customers from Dublin Airport.

The injunctions were sought pending the outcome of a full hearing of the High Court dispute between ER Travel Ltd, trading as Easirent. com, and DAA.

When refusing the injunctions on Tuesday evening, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said the case should be brought before the judge in charge of the High Court competition list as soon as possible.

After the ruling, John Hennessy, solicitor for Easirent, said his client was disappointed the court did not grant the injunction but was happy the judge had directed an early hearing of the full dispute between the parties.

It is “business as usual” for Easirent, he added.

Easirent is part of a group that offers online car rental services in the UK and the US as well as in Ireland.

It sued over DAA’s ongoing refusal to allow it to collect its customers at the airport and take them to its offices some 2km away where they pick-up their car rentals.

DAA, in opposing the case, claims the company is carrying on business activity at the airport’s facilities in breach of bye-laws governing the running of the airport.

In his ruling, Mr Justice O’Connor said, while he believed the plaintiff had raised a “compelling” issue to be tried, he was satisfied damages would be an adequate remedy for both parties following the full hearing of the dispute.

Competition list

Because an allegation that DAA has engaged in an uncompetitive practice in regard to the car rental market is at the centre of the case, he directed that the matter go before the judge in charge of the competition list and said he hoped a date will be fixed for the full hearing of the dispute by the autumn.

Easirent, which employs 33 people, commenced operations in 2016. It claims, a few months after it began trading, DAA objected to it collecting passengers from the airport and the Airport Police, employees of DAA, had refused Easirent employees access to the airport car park.

There had been a lull in DAA’s actions for a period but the airport operator had in recent months again started to refuse to allow Easirent to pickup its customers from the airport, it is claimed.

DAA’s actions are anti-competitive and are having a “catastrophic” effect on Easirent’s operations, it is claimed.

It is claimed DAA’s actions are being carried out because Easirent, unlike other car hire companies, does not operate out of Dublin Airport and does not have a licence agreement with DAA.

DAA denies the claims and maintains permission is required by any firm or entity wishing to pick up clients at the airport.