Hungary fines Ryanair $780,000 in consumer protection probe -minister

Hungary has fined Ryanair 300 million forints ($780,000) after a consumer protection investigation into the airline passing on the cost of a special tax levied on the industry, the justice minister said on Monday.

Nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government in May announced a tax worth 800 billion forints on "extra profits" earned by major companies. The tax was intended to plug budget holes created by a spending spree that helped him gain re-election in April.

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Ryanair had called on Orban's government to scrap what it called a "misguided" new tax, which is levied at a rate per departing passenger. The tax would damage Hungarian tourism and the economy, the airline said. read more

"The consumer protection authority has found a breach of the law today, because the airline has misled customers with its unfair business practice," Justice Minister Judit Varga said in a Facebook post.

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Ryanair, which has also taken issue with the tax being levied on a loss-making industry, said it would be forced to move growth capacity to countries that were working to restore traffic in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rival carrier Wizz Air has said it would take a long time for the airline industry to return to revenue and profitability levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic. It said the tax would hamper the recovery of the tourism sector.

($1 = 384.88 forints)

Source: Reuters

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