Both might have breached competition law by failing to offer cash refunds said the CMA
British Airways and Ryanair PLC (LON:RYA) are both facing possible action from the UK competition watchdog over failing to offer refunds for flights cancelled due to Covid-19.
The UK’s two leading airlines are said to have given passengers the option of a voucher or rebooking in the case of BA and to rebook by Ryanair.
Both might have breached competition law by failing to offer cash refunds, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, 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 CMA said it had written to both airlines and was seeking to resolve the concerns something that might result in refunds, or other redress, for affected customers.
Ryanair said it had “approached such refund requests on a case by case basis and has 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.”
The CMA has repeatedly warned the travel industry over refunds as the coronavirus crisis has unfolded.
Around 100 companies were sent an open letter in May telling them to make refund policies clear and warning them of their legal obligations ahead of holiday travel resuming later this year.
TUI AG (LON:TUI) was the subject of action by the CMA last September and was highlighted again last month with the group said to have agreed to provide clearer information on refunds ‘upfront to customers’.
British Airways is owned by International Consolidated Airlines (LON:IAG).