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Wizz Air investigation as airline accused of breaching customer protection laws | Travel News | Travel


Wizz Air is under investigation by the federal government (Image: Getty Images)

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice is investigating the budget airline over possible breaches of consumer protection laws. It comes days after Wizz Air announced it might be suspending nearly all its routes from Cardiff this winter.

The corporate has been accused of failing to supply information and assistance to customers affected by delayed or cancelled flights.

Based on state media, the Hungarian government may even look into reports that the airline failed to supply accommodation or rebook flights for affected passengers, in addition to failing to answer consumer complaints inside 30 days, reports Wales Online.

The probe is the second of its kind to be launched against an airline by the ministry in recent weeks.

The nationalist Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has promised to “detect, stop, and sanction any possible illegal behaviour” by airlines and other industries.

Earlier this summer the federal government imposed a windfall tax on airlines, claiming that that they had enjoyed “excess profits” from a surge in demand following the coronavirus pandemic.

This claim was widely disputed by the airlines themselves who said the pandemic had actually led them to report record losses.

To compensate for the tax Ryanair raised its ticket prices, leading the Hungarian government to accuse the budget airline of breaching consumer protection laws and superb it greater than £635,000.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary had previously referred to the tax as “highway robbery” and called on the federal government to overturn it.

The probe also comes lower than two weeks after Wizz Air confirmed it might be cancelling most of its flights from Cardiff Airport for six months.

The airline made the announcement that it’s going to significantly reduce its flight schedule from September 19 resulting from what it has called “macro-economic pressures”.

The news affects most flights resulting from take off from Cardiff Airport throughout the winter with the airline now not flying to Alicante, Corfu, Heraklion, Faro, Larnaca, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, Sharm el-Sheikh, or Tenerife.

Nevertheless the positioning in Rhoose will see flights travel to 2 destinations, Milan and Bucharest, over the six-month period.

It has been a torrid summer for the airline at Cardiff Airport with passengers left stranded abroad for days and waiting on the airport for hours for flights that never took off.

Some have even needed to fork out lots of for taxis home after being left stranded at Bristol Airport after their flight to Cardiff was diverted and later cancelled.

Wizz Air only launched its base at Cardiff Airport in April this yr with airport bosses welcoming what it called “Europe’s fastest-growing and most sustainable airline” in a move that represented “an actual turning point for the airport in its post-Covid revival plan”.

On the time the airline’s managing director, Marion Geoffroy, said it was a “very exciting time for Wizz Air within the UK” adding that the airline would “provide a big boost to the Welsh economy”.

Nevertheless, just 4 months on, Ms Geoffroy spoke of her disappointment at having to suspend the routes.

She apologised to customers, adding that it might not be “commercially viable” to proceed the routes over the winter period.

“We’re very dissatisfied to need to suspend several routes from Cardiff Airport for the winter season,” she said.

“Though these routes have proved popular through the summer season it might not be commercially viable to proceed to operate them through this coming winter resulting from the difficult macro-economic environment. This leaves us with no option but to pause these routes until next spring.”

She added: “We’re deeply sorry for the inconvenience it will cause customers who already booked flights with us.

“We’re in contact with all affected customers to elucidate their options.”

A spokesman for Wizz Air said: “Wizz Air is aware of the investigation and is engaging fully with the Hungarian Consumer Protection Authority.

“As that is subject to investigation Wizz Air cannot comment further.”

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