LONDON – Hungarian ultra-low cost carrier Wizz Air, operates a registered UK operation as a subsidiary to the main Hungarian parent company. The operation’s shares trade on the London Stock Exchange – now Wizz Air is refusing to pay out court ordered claims, citing that argument that it has no legal presence within the country!
Now you see them, now you don’t
During a 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 travellers, even after courts ruled them to do so.
The carrier’s reason for ignoring these four hundred country court judgements, 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 favour, bailiffs were sent round 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 is currently 401 outstanding payments due to travellers 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 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 have been doing in a post pandemic world. They boast one of the youngest, most efficient fleet 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 near 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 over these claims, apart from to exonerate themselves 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.
I think that unless we see some positive action from carrier in the form of settlement of the 400 plus outstanding compensation claims, then we may well be writing more articles about the demise of Wizz Air in the UK. That however is left up to you, to make that decision when booking your next trip.