Ryanair takes case over use of images by union


RYANAIR HAS brought a High Court action to prevent the Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (Ialpa) using images of its aircraft or fuselage on its website.

The use of such images suggests Ryanair recognises the association as a representative body or trade union when it does not, the airline argues. Any such recognition would be “a U-turn and hypocritical” of its position of not recognising trade unions, it said.

Union chairman Evan Cullen has denied the claims and argued Ryanair “thrives on being confrontational and scornful of anyone out of step” with it. Ryanair was “very publicly anti-union” and over the last 13 years has displayed a negative attitude towards the association and its members, he said.

It was “absurd” to suggest the association had done anything to suggest it was trying to dupe unsuspecting Ryanair pilots into joining the organisation by leading them to believe that it had been recognised by the airline, he added.

The union, a branch of the trade union Impact, contends it used the images to show many of its members work for Ryanair. It denies the use of the images suggests the union has been recognised by or is connected in any way with Ryanair and also denies Ryanair’s business reputation has been damaged.

Ryanair wants injunctions restraining the union from using any images containing Ryanair trademarks on its website, on business papers or on advertising anywhere in the EU, pending the outcome of its full action over the matter. It also wants orders restraining the association from the alleged passing-off of an association with Ryanair, and damages.

Opening the application, Martin Hayden SC, for Ryanair, said, as part of the airline’s business model, it, like many US companies, does not recognise, associate or endorse trade unions. He said the union uses its website to attract new members and the material complained of included an aircraft with an image registered by Ryanair, which the organisation had no permission to use.

The hearing continues.