Ryanair cancels Hungary routes over windfall tax dispute

Sep 13, 2022, 7:03 AM | Updated: 7:13 am

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Budget airline Ryanair announced Tuesday that it will cancel several routes through Hungary and cut flights on several more following a months-long dispute with the country’s government over a special windfall tax placed on airlines.

The Ireland-based company’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said at a press conference in Hungary’s capital that Ryanair had planned to launch 10 new routes through Budapest and base an additional airplane at its airport this winter.

“Sadly, however, those plans have now fallen at the altar of the Hungarian government’s decision to impose a ludicrous and idiotic excess profits tax on the airline sector, which has reported record losses,” O’Leary said.

Instead of expanding its presence in Hungary as planned to more than 5 million passengers next year, Ryanair will eliminate eight of its previously operating 53 routes through Budapest while imposing frequency cuts on seven more, he said.

This will reduce the company’s yearly passenger load in Hungary from 4.5 million to under 4 million, he added.

The decision came in response to Hungary’s government fining the low-cost airline more than 750,000 euros ($753,000) in August for alleged consumer protection violations. The fine came after the company raised ticket prices to cope with a tax on what the government calls “extra profits” of industries ranging from airlines to banks.

The nationalist government argued that such industries have enjoyed windfall profits arising from soaring demand after the COVID-19 pandemic, and should contribute to the country’s economic recovery.

But on Tuesday, O’Leary said Ryanair had posted 1.26 billion euros in losses in the last two years, and that targeting it and other airlines with excess profits taxes was “inexplicable.”

“We cannot get any explanation from the Hungarian government as to why an industry or a sector which is making record losses is being asked to pay excess profits,” O’Leary said.

Ryanair will appeal the “bogus” fine imposed on it by Hungary’s consumer protection authority in Hungarian courts, O’Leary said, adding that “we confidently expect we will lose,” but that the company will then appeal in European Union courts.

He also took a swipe at Hungary’s consumer protection agency, questioning its independence and accusing it of taking political cues from the Minister of Justice in imposing the fine.

“It’s not too late for the Hungarian government to realize the error of their ways,” O’Leary said. “The future of Hungarian tourism and industry lies entirely on making Hungary an attractive destination and a low-cost, competitive destination here in Central Europe.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


This photo provided by Robert Wilkes, owner of a house boat management company, shows smoke rising ...

Associated Press

Houseboats catch fire while docked at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell

More than half a dozen house boats momentarily caught fire at a popular boating destination on the Utah-Arizona line on Friday.

2 days ago

File - Women work in a restaurant kitchen in Chicago, Thursday, March 23, 2023. On Friday, the U.S....

Associated Press

US hiring, unemployment jump in May and what that says about the economy

The nation’s employers stepped up their hiring in May, adding a robust 339,000 jobs, well above expectations.

2 days ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Associated Press

Oath Keeper from Arizona sentenced for role in Jan. 6 riot at US Capitol

Edward Vallejo, a U.S. Army veteran from Phoenix, oversaw a “Quick Reaction Force” at a Virginia hotel that was prepared to deploy an arsenal of weapons into Washington if needed, authorities say.

3 days ago

FILE - U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz listens during a news conference, Jan. 5, 2023, in Washi...

Associated Press

US Border Patrol chief is retiring after seeing through end of Title 42 immigration restrictions

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced Tuesday that he was retiring, after seeing through a major policy shift that seeks to clamp down on illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border following the end of Title 42 pandemic restrictions.

4 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden talks with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Calif., on the House steps as...

Associated Press

House OKs debt ceiling bill to avoid default, sends Biden-McCarthy deal to Senate

The House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package late Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans against fierce conservative blowback and progressive dissent.

4 days ago

Sean Bickings (Family Photo via city of Tempe)...

Associated Press

Family of man who drowned last year in Tempe Town Lake files wrongful death lawsuit

The family of a man who drowned in Tempe Town Lake a year ago filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city Wednesday, noting that its police department doesn't have a policy requiring officers to go into the water to save someone.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Why drug-free weight loss still matters

Wanting to lose weight is a common goal for many people as they progress throughout life, but choosing between a holistic approach or to take medicine can be a tough decision.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

How to identify the symptoms of 3 common anxiety disorders

Living with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and cause significant stress for those who suffer from the condition.

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.

Ryanair cancels Hungary routes over windfall tax dispute