bne IntelliNews – Hungary launches investigation against Ryanair after airline says it will pass on windfall tax

Hungary ordered an immediate consumer protection investigation against Ryanair on June 10, a day after the low-cost airline announced it would pass new windfall taxes on consumers.

Authorities will undertake a thorough investigation with a view to respecting consumer rights and preventing the airline’s unfair business practices to the extent possible, the statement said.

The Hungarian government has levied new exceptional taxes for a period of two years on the banking, insurance, energy, retail, telecommunications and pharmaceutical sectors, in addition to airlines , to fill the gaping hole in the budget.

The decree obliges airlines to pay a contribution of 3,900 HUF (9.8 €) per traveler on flights to European Union countries as well as destinations in Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia , Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova. , Monaco, Montenegro, United Kingdom, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Serbia and Ukraine. The contribution for other destinations is 9,750 HUF per passenger.

Ryanair had launched a savage attack on the new tax a day earlier, announcing that it would charge passengers the additional tax and give passengers the option of getting a refund on tickets. The Ireland-based airline has asked the government to repeal the new airline tax, which it says will have a detrimental effect on air travel as well as tourism and the Hungarian economy.

“This ill-timed and ill-considered tax, which inexplicably compares the loss-making airline industry to highly profitable oil and energy companies, has rendered Hungary instantly uncompetitive and less attractive to airlines and tourists,” the company said in a statement. .

“The government considers it unacceptable and rejects in the strongest terms Ryanair’s transfer of the special extra profit tax levied on airlines to passengers,” Economic Development Minister Marton Nagy said.

The government is closely monitoring market trends and will do everything in its power to prevent the cost of exceptional taxes from being passed on to consumers, he said, adding that the government has also launched an investigation to determine whether Ryanair’s ticket pricing practices comply with all European Standards and requirements.

Ryanair’s terms and conditions state that it can pass on any exceptional tax levied on the company and even on tickets purchased earlier, Hungarian media reported.

Belgium has introduced a surcharge of €10 for journeys of less than 500 km from April 1 on each departing passenger, and €2 to €4 for journeys outside Europe. Ryanair immediately passed on the additional cost to passengers who purchased their tickets before the tax was introduced.

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