Updated: Orbán Says Flight Delays ‘Unacceptable’

  • 5 Jul 2024 5:05 PM
  • Hungary Matters
Updated: Orbán Says Flight Delays ‘Unacceptable’
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has slammed the recent series of flight delays and cancellations as “unacceptable”, saying it was “impossible not to be outraged” by what was happening in the sector.

“It’s not about whether or not air travel is well-organised, but that there’s not even the bare minimum of humanity,” Orbán told public radio.

He added that most passengers had been working throughout the entire year to be able to use their savings to go on holiday, and this was “one of the important events of the year” for most Hungarian families.

Orbán said passengers were not being shown “any humanity” by airlines when they were not kept informed about the situation and the long delays.

He said what was happening at Liszt Ferenc International Airport was a consequence of the period before the state had re-acquired it, adding that he trusted that the situation would improve “when the actual physical takeover happens”.

He said it was not just the airport’s operator that needed to do a better job, but also air traffic control and the ground crew. Orbán said the government expected staff and crew that interacted with Hungarians and tourists to show “more understanding and humanity”, adding that he had instructed his ministers to enforce those expectations.

On the topic of vehicle fuel prices, the prime minister said the government would not tolerate Hungarians having to pay more for fuel than the average price in neighbouring countries.

Hungary’s vehicle fuel companies must honour the agreement they signed with the government, he said. “We can’t have prices keeping to the regional average for a while only to then slip out of that range,” Orbán said, adding that “this is what’s happening now”.

He said that for now, the government was asking fuel companies “verbally” to keep to the agreement.

“But we won’t say it twice. We have an agreement and it must be honoured. We tolerate Hungarians being made to pay more for fuel than what is the average price in neighbouring countries. And if this polite message doesn’t work, we’ll take steps.”

Justice Minister Orders More Probes into Flight Delays

Justice Minister Bence Tuzson has ordered eight more consumer protection probes against airlines over recent significant flight delays and cancellations, the justice ministry said.

The latest investigations concern flights operated by Ryanair and Wizz Air.

“The practices applied by the airlines are unacceptable,” the ministry quoted Tuzson as saying.

“Passengers cannot be at the mercy of airlines; the laws must be respected,” he said, adding that airlines could expect “severe consumer protection fines” if they did not meet their obligations.

Last week, the Budapest Government Office said it has launched a probe against Ryanair, Wizz Air, SunExpress and Eurowings over flight delays.

Air Passengers Must Get Refund or Rebooking If Flight Cancelled or Severely Delayed - Budapest Gov't Office

Airlines must fully reimburse passengers if a flight is cancelled or allow the possibility of a rebooking on the next available flight, the Metropolitan Government Office said in a statement.

The office said it stressed the importance of airlines complying with the rules on flight delays and cancellations during the main tourist season.

Unless the cancellation is caused by circumstances beyond the airline’s control such as a technical error, a strike by airline employees, dangerous weather conditions, air traffic control decisions, and collisions with flocks of birds, passengers may claim compensation of between 250 and 600 euros depending on the length of the flight.

In cases of a delay by more than five hours, the airline must refund the price of the ticket if the passenger opts for that, it added.

If the final destination is reached with a delay of over 3 hours in the absence of force majeure conditions, passengers must be offered compensation of between 250 and 600 euros.


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