Budget airline Ryanair has failed to delay its former operation chief’s move to rival company Easyjet after a court rejected its claim.
The Irish High Court has rejected Ryanair’s attempt to stop Peter Bellow from joining Easyjet until 2021, saying a 12-month non-compete clause was not enforceable.
Ryanair has instructed its lawyers to immediately appeal, Reuters reported.
The airline had argued that Bellow possed information of “significant competitive value”, and the non-compete clause should prevent him from moving to Easyjet in January/
Bellow, who was previously chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, argued he was not subject to the clause, which was attached to a share option scheme he said was valueless.
He also argued that the restrictions were too broad.
Judge Senan Allen judged that the non-compete clause was valid but was too restrictive as it prevented Bellow from taking a job at any airline, not just those in the same market segment as Ryanair.
“I find that the covenant in this case, properly construed, would prevent the defendant from taking up employment with any European airline, including the legacy carriers, and so goes beyond what the plaintiff has shown to be justified,” Allen said in his judgment.