It has been revealed that Wizz Air has £2.2m in outstanding County Court Judgments (CCJs) regarding compensation for UK travelers.
Based on data from Which?, it has been revealed that there are CCJs worth more than £4.5m that are yet to be paid by airlines in the UK.
Without further ado, let’s get into it…
Which?: CAA Must Get Tougher on the Likes of Wizz Air…
Rocio Concha, the Director of Policy & Advocacy for Which? talked more about these CCJs and how the UK CAA must get tougher on the likes of Wizz Air:
“The scale of court judgments piling up against major airlines is a result of a system where the odds are stacked against passengers, and airlines feel empowered to routinely ignore their legal obligations to pay out refunds and compensation.
“The CAA must get tough with airlines and make clear that it will consider using all the powers at its disposal – which may include reviewing the licenses of the worst offenders if appropriate.”
“To avoid a repeat of this mess in the future, the government must also prioritize reforms that put passengers first, which means giving the regulator powers and resources to require information from airlines as to their compliance with the law and to directly fine rogue operators that do not comply.”
The List of the Guilty Players…
Below is a list of the breakdown of the £4.5m in unsolved claims through the county court, with Wizz Air being at the #1 spot for this:
- Wizz Air – £2.2m from 1,601 outstanding CCJs.
- easyJet – £611k from 884 outstanding CCJs.
- Ryanair – £549k from 840 outstanding CCJs.
- TUI – £1.3m from 313 outstanding CCJs.
- Jet2 – £1.43k from four outstanding CCJs.
- British Airways- £96k from 82 outstanding CCJs.
This list represents the high level of damage caused to passengers’ financial pursestrings, especially at a time when the Cost of Living crisis continues to bite.
Many will argue that people shouldn’t go on holiday, but in the context of travel, it is an opportunity to move away from the woes of current life.
The Situation Has Gone Worse…
For Wizz Air, the situation has gotten worse for them. Back in November, it was revealed that the UK subsidiary of the carrier had over 400 claims that were unpaid.
During an investigation carried out by financial investigator Tony Hetherington which looked into why Wizz Air was not paying out settlements over flight delays and cancellations, it was uncovered that they were not paying outstanding compensation payments to travelers, even after courts ruled them to do so.
The carrier’s reason for ignoring these four hundred country court judgments is that it does not deem itself as having a legal presence in the United Kingdom.
When one disgruntled customer did not receive monies declared by a court as payable to them by Wizz Air UK after a settlement of £1542 granted in their favor, bailiffs were sent around in a bid to collect the outstanding debt.
The reply the officers got upon trying to retrieve the settlement was, “Wizz Air has no staff, offices, or assets in London Luton Airport.”
Over 400 claims for outstanding payments
There are currently 401 outstanding payments, if not more, due to travelers that Wizz Air UK Limited is still yet to pay out.
This should highlight to people that may already have flights booked with the airline or serve as a reason to think twice if you are planning to book flights with the Budapest-based carrier in the future.
Let’s work off what we do know – Wizz Air bases itself out of London Luton Airport (Registration number: 10982241) and has an operating license assigned to it by the Civil Aviation Authority (#2449). This means Wizz Air UK is able to operate within the European Economic Area.
It has 17 Airbus single-aisle aircraft assigned to the subsidiary to support its operations here.
SOURCE: UK Government website – Company registrations
AviationSource has written frequently this year about how well Wizz has been doing in a post-pandemic world.
They boast one of the youngest, most efficient fleets of aircraft in Europe and have seen numerous new routes launched over the course of this year, helping to boost flight capacities and incoming revenues.
Despite all this recent positive publicity, a look further into Wizz Air’s financials shows that as of March this year, they had 1.04 billion euros of debt. This is a nearly 889 million euro increase compared to the same time twelve months ago(!)
That doesn’t paint the whole picture, as it is cash rich to the tune of 1.22 billion euros, putting them €180 million in the black.
Its outstanding liabilities do, however, total 3.72 billion euros, which could be a potential cause for concern over the long term if we were to see another worldwide incident such as the Covid pandemic.
With Wizz Air UK failing to comment on these claims, apart from exonerating itself from its status in the United Kingdom, it is unknown how this saga will pan out.
Ignorance is not the way to deal with customers you have left out of pocket due to operational changes or failure.