As we reported before, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair called on the Hungarian government in 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 will have to pass the ‘excess profits’ tax on to the passengers.
The Hungarian government proposed in November to replace the ‘excess’ profits tax (departure tax) with an ‘environmental’ passenger tax. Ryanair then said that any such tax makes air access to/from Hungary more expensive and uncompetitive, compared to flights to/from neighbouring countries (Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Croatia, and Austria).
The airline has still not paid the HUF 300 million fine for passing on the extra profit tax. 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 the financial year, according to Mandiner. The reason is that 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 the company appealed, but the appeal is still pending.
The ‘extra profits’ tax imposed by the Hungarian government was strongly criticised by the company’s CEO Michael O’Leary. He repeatedly criticised the Minister of Economic Development, Márton Nagy, calling the tax stupid and calling on the government to repeal it.
The Government Office’s investigation, which closed in August, found that Ryanair had deceived consumers through unfair commercial practices, for which it fined the company HUF 300 million. The company’s CEO announced flight cancellations and the closure of some routes in the autumn, citing the tax imposed on them. They also announced that they would appeal against the decision of the government office.
Michael O’Leary attacked the tax mainly because of their losses after the airlines suffered huge losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In November, it was revealed that the airline had made a record profit of EUR 1.4 billion for the first half of the financial year. In that period, Ryanair carried 95.1 million passengers and its revenues tripled to EUR 6.6 billion.
Source: Mandiner, DNH