Ryanair fined in Hungarian consumer probe

Ryanair was fined 300 million forint (€763,000) by Hungary, the country’s justice minister said Monday, after the airline raised prices following the country’s announcement of a windfall tax.

The low-cost carrier said in June that it would charge customers an extra €9.87 on flights from July 1, days after the Hungarian government announced a two-year windfall tax on large companies in industries that had performed well, including aviation.

Ryanair called the tax “illogical” and warned it would “irreparably damage Hungarian tourism, connectivity, traffic and jobs.” 

Although Ryanair did better than rivals during COVID, it still posted a €355 million loss last year. However, the rebound in travel has boosted its fortunes and the carrier reported a pre-tax profit of €203 million for the second quarter of this year.

Justice Minister Judit Varga announced Monday on Facebook that an investigation by the consumer protection agency found the airline had violated consumer rules.

“The war inflation and the war economic situation require that whichever multinational companies make extra profits should pay their share of the costs of the overhead protection and the national defense,” she wrote.

Ryanair said it hadn’t yet received any notice of the authority’s decision but would “immediately appeal any baseless fine.” A spokesperson said in an emailed statement that EU rules allow airlines to set fares “without any interference” from national governments or consumer agencies.

The airline added that it would be prepared to appeal the ruling in EU courts.

Additional reporting by Lili Bayer

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