Pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet reported on Friday that passengers were canceling their flights with Irish carrier Ryanair en masse due to airline’s decision to pass on the “extra-profit” tax to its passengers, even those who had already purchased tickets.
The newspaper wrote that passengers had canceled 60% of previously-bought tickets for July by Thursday’s deadline, meaning that they had asked for their money back instead of taking the flight they had booked. However, Magyar Nemzet did not indicate where its information came from.
Ryanair responded to the news in a statement that it sent to media outlets and published on its website:
These claims in Magyar Nemzet are false and clearly invented. Less than 3% of Ryanair passengers due to travel after 1 July have taken up the option to cancel their flight and receive a full refund.
These seats will now be reoffered for sale to Hungarian families.
The balance of over 97% have chosen to pay Minister Nagy’s bogus and idiotic “excess profits tax” on loss making airlines which will make air travel to/from Hungary more expensive for thousands of Hungarian families who depend on low fare air travel to visit friends and families who are working all over Europe.
The statement closed with a swipe at the minister for economic development: “Minister Nagy should now apologise to Hungarian families who will pay higher fares because of his idiotic tax grab.
Minister Gergely Gulyás said in Friday’s government information briefing that Hungarians should choose a competitor to Ryanair wherever possible. Gulyás mentioned that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary communicates with the government in a “pub-style” manner, and presumably with his passengers as well.
The government launched a consumer protection investigation against the company when Ryanair decided to pass on the special tax on airlines to customers who had already purchaed tickets. Gulyás stated that until the investigation is completed, no other measures against the firm were planned.