A Hungarian court has overturned a €763,000 penalty imposed by the country’s consumer watchdog on Irish airline Ryanair last year.
Hungary’s Authority for Consumer Protection (CPA) last year fined Ryanair €763,000 for passing on to passengers the cost of a €10 per passenger “excess profits” tax levied by the country.
The metropolitan court of Budapest has annulled the fine, confirming that the carrier could lawfully pass the cost of the tax on to customers and ruling that Ryanair’s procedural rights had been breached.
A Ryanair statement welcoming the ruling noted that the Hungarian court’s finding was in line with European Union law, which guarantees airlines the freedom to set prices and pass retrospective taxes on to consumers.
Juliusz Komorek, Ryanair’s chief legal officer, argued there was no basis for Hungary’s “bogus excess profits tax” given that it had been imposed when all airlines were losing money as a consequence of Covid-19.
News of the finding follows last week’s ruling by the EU’s general court in favour of a Ryanair argument that a €140 million fund established by the Italian government to aid three airlines during the pandemic was discriminatory as it excluded the Irish carrier.
Italy is likely to appeal that judgment to the higher European Court of Justice.
Also last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that the EU Commission should not have approved billions of euro of state aid given to German airline Lufthansa and Scandinavian carrier SAS following a challenge brought by Ryanair.