The UK competition regulator has launched enforcement cases into Ryanair and British Airways after the airlines refused to offer customers refunds for flights they were unable to take during the pandemic, reported The Financial Times.
The announcement on Wednesday, June 9, by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) brought a furious response from BA, which stated the investigation was “incredible” and any punishment could put jobs at risk.
The CMA stated it was investigating whether BA and Ryanair had broken consumer protection law and had written to both companies detailing its concerns. The regulator opened the probe in December.
During the pandemic, when customers were unable to fly because of lockdowns in the UK, BA offered customers vouchers or the chance to rebook their flights and Ryanair only provided the option to rebook.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said, “While we understand that airlines have had a tough time during the pandemic, people should not be left unfairly out of pocket for following the law. “Customers booked these flights in good faith and were legally unable to take them due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. We believe these people should have been offered their money back.”
The investigation is a new headache for BA and Ryanair as the airline industry faces the growing prospect of a second lost summer of travel.
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