The event will take place next week, and the topics of discussions the Ryanair leader would like to cover are unknown. However, he regularly criticizes the Orbán government for its departure tax and fine imposed on the airline.
We received an invitation to a press conference hosted by Ryanair’s Group CEO Michael O’Leary, and Ryanair’s Country Manager for CEE, Alicja Wojcik-Golebiowska. The venue will be Budapest, while the date is the afternoon of 24 January, next Tuesday.
The last time he came to Hungary, 13 September, he announced significant decisions affecting all Ryanair flights from and to Budapest. First, he slammed the Hungary’s extra profit (departure) tax. He called the measure stupid. He also said that Ryanair would close eight destinations and reduce the frequency of seven others.
Hungarian press wrote prior to that press conference that Michael O’Leary would come personally to Budapest only to announce that his company was leaving Hungary. Világgazdaság wrote that only a harsh tone remained from the threats during the press conference. And that is probably because of the importance of the Hungarian market for the Irish low-cost airline.
As we reported before, Ryanair called on the Hungarian government last November to apologise to its citizens and visitors for its failed attempt to impose an ‘excess profits’ tax on airlines. According to Michael O’Leary, Ryanair could not even pay that tax due to being a loss-making airline.
In June, the Hungarian government imposed a HUF 300 million (EUR 730,000) fine on the airline after stating that they would have to pass the ‘excess profits’ tax on to the passengers. However, the airline has not paid a cent yet. The Group CEO of Ryanair kept referring to losses. Meanwhile, the company posted record revenues of EUR 1.4 billion in the first half of 2022.
In fact, an administrative lawsuit is still pending against the airline, in which the company has requested a stay of execution and, thus a delay in the payment of the fine. The Metropolitan Court rejected the stay of execution, a decision against which Ryanair appealed. That appeal is still pending.
It is still unknown why the CEO of Europe’s biggest and most profitable low-cost airline decided to travel to Budapest and hold a press conference. It might be linked to the government’s fine, excess profits tax or the airline’s summer timetable. However, there is one thing for certain. Ryanair will probably not leave Hungary. At least the Hungarian press wrote nothing about O’Leary’s intentions, and such an important decision would definitely be preceded by media speculations and leaks.