The Italian Competition Authority has imposed a fine of €4.2 million on budget airline giant Ryanair after the firm did not reimburse consumers for flights cancelled due to COVID after 3rd June 2020.
The organisation has also imposed major fines on other budget airlines EasyJet €2.8 million and Volotea €1.4 million for the same reasons.
According to the authority, the three airlines behaved seriously incorrectly and did not comply with due diligence rules when – once the travel restrictions had been lifted – they proceeded to make numerous cancellations of scheduled flights offered for sale.
The airlines, it said, always cited the health emergency and continued to issue vouchers without proceeding instead to reimburse the price paid for cancelled tickets.
Additionally, the authority found that a Ryanair advertising campaign, launched in June, misleadingly suggested that customers would be able to change their flights for free (through the claim “no penalty for the change”).
In addition to the payment of fines totalling €8.4 million, Ryanair, EasyJet and Volotea will have to submit measures to comply with the authority’s decision.
Many airlines across the world appear to have struggled with mandatory consumer regulations regarding the swathes of COVID-related cancelled flights, with some being criticised for delays in processing the refunds, or not providing them at all.
Malta’s flag carrier Air Malta is no exception to this rule, having cancelled more than 9,000 flights due to lower pandemic-related demand.
Late last year, the airline revealed to The Malta Independent that it has settled 88 per cent of all COVID-related refund requests.
However, one only has to take to social media to see that some customers continue to complain that their refund hasn’t yet been issued.
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