UK opens inquiry into British Airways and Ryanair into refunds

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into the national carrier, British Airways (BA) and Irish airline Ryanair to find out whether they violated consumer law by not offering of reimbursement to customers who could not legally take flights due to Covid-19 Blockages.

During the closures, the two airlines refused to reimburse passengers who were legally unable to fly, with British Airways offering vouchers or a new reservation and Ryanair offering the option to change reservations, the Xinhua news agency said citing the CMA, an independent non-ministerial department, as in a statement Wednesday.

The two companies may have broken consumer law and left people unfairly out of pocket by not offering them a refund, he added.

“While we understand that airlines have gone through a difficult time during the pandemic, people should not be unfairly left behind for following the law,” said Andrea Coscelli, CMA chief executive.

“Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances completely beyond their control. We believe these people should have been offered a refund,” Coscelli said.

The watchdog said it “is now seeking to resolve these issues with businesses, which may include seeking refunds or other remedies for affected customers.”

Responding to the inquiry, a BA spokesperson was quoted by Sky News as saying he had “acted legally at all times”.

The spokesperson said the airline has made more than 3 million refunds and helped millions of customers change their travel dates or destinations during the pandemic.

At the same time, Sky News also quoted Ryanair as saying the company “has approached these refund requests on a case-by-case basis and paid refunds in justified cases.”

“Since June 2020 all of our customers have also been able to book their flights without paying any change fees and millions of our UK customers have taken advantage of this option,” the airline added.


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(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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About Walter Bartholomew

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