“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,” the CMA’s CEO Andrea Coscelli said. “We believe these people should have been offered their money back,” he added.
Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, said in a statement that it paid refunds in “justified cases.”
“Since June 2020, all our customers have also had the ability to rebook their flights without paying a change fee and millions of our UK customers have availed of this option,” it added.
A British Airways spokesperson said the airline has “acted lawfully at all times.”
“We have issued well over 3 million refunds and helped millions of our customers change their travel dates or destinations,” the spokesperson added. “It is incredible that the government is seeking to punish further an industry that is on its knees, after prohibiting airlines from meaningful flying for well over a year now.”