Ryanair case against COO Peter Bellew for hearing next week

Airline says executive is barred from joining rival for at least 12 months

Ryanair chief operating officer Peter Bellew Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

Ryanair chief operating officer Peter Bellew Photograph: Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

 

Ryanair’s action against its chief operations officer Peter Bellew is due to be heard by the High Court next week.

The action centres on Mr Bellew’s decision earlier this year to leave the company in December and join rival airline EasyJet as its chief operating officer. It is alleged by Ryanair, represented by Ross Aylward, that Mr Bellew has a clause in his contract that prevents him working for a rival for a period of 12 months following the end of his employment with Ryanair.

Ryanair’s claims are denied by Mr Bellew, who has held a number of senior roles in the aviation industry having previously been Malaysian Airline’s chief executive, and Ryanair’s director of flight operations.

Answers

The case was initiated last August and lawyers for both parties have agreed to an expedited hearing of the action. The matter was briefly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Thursday.

Ryanair had brought a pretrial motion seeking answers from Mr Bellew to certain questions, known as interrogatories. John Rogers SC, instructed by solicitor Donal Spring, for Mr Bellew, opposed that application as “oppressive” and said it should not be entertained by the court.

The judge, noting the trial is listed for hearing next week, said the court was not in a position to hear Ryanair’s application. She adjourned the motion and said it could be dealt with at the hearing of the action, expected to last for several days.