The UK Civil Aviation Authority has expressed significant concerns to Wizz Air over high volumes of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) complaints and delays in paying passengers what they are owed.
The latest quarterly complaints data published by the Civil Aviation Authority shows that Wizz Air ranked as clearly the worst airline for complaints escalated to either ADR schemes or the regulator’s in-house complaints team in the third quarter of 2022, with 811 complaints per million passengers.
Other airlines had less than half as many complaints, and many significantly less.
The regulator also recently questioned the time Wizz Air was taking to process claims received directly from passengers, and the large number of County Court Judgements (CCJs) which have been found against Wizz Air and remain unpaid.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority has been clear with Wizz Air that this is an unacceptable way to treat passengers and that it is imperative for the issues to be tackled urgently.
Wizz Air has acknowledged and expressed regret over these problems and has committed to the Civil Aviation Authority that it will clear the backlogs of claims and outstanding ADR payments by Christmas. Wizz Air is also working to identify and conclude all outstanding CCJs. The Civil Aviation Authority will continue to monitor progress.
Anna Bowles, Head of Consumer Policy & Enforcement at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
"Passengers have every right to expect their complaints and claims to be resolved quickly and efficiently and to be treated fairly by airlines. The volume of complaints and claims received by ADR in respect of Wizz Air is far higher than those seen for other airlines. This, alongside the delays in processing and paying claims and the large number of County Court Judgements made against Wizz Air, has raised significant concerns for the CAA.
“We have made it clear to Wizz Air that its behaviour is unacceptable and that we expect overdue complaints and claims to be resolved in advance of Christmas. We understand the payment of County Court Judgements may continue into January, but we are encouraging Wizz Air to ensure that the payment of these is also prioritised. We will continue to monitor the situation. Where we have evidence that an airline is letting passengers down, we won’t hesitate to take further action where required.”
Notes to editors
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is the aviation and aerospace regulator.
Data has been published today on quarterly passenger complaints data from CAA approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) entities and CAA's Passenger Advice and Complaints Team.
Some airlines and airports are members of Alternative Dispute Resolution entities (ADR). Some of these bodies have been approved by the CAA for providing a high standard of dispute resolution for consumer disputes stemming from a contract for aviation services; others will have been approved by other EU Member States.
If you have been dissatisfied with the response of an airline or airport to your complaint, you should be sent information on whether ADR is available in the airline/airport's final response. If you have not received a final response in eight or more weeks, you may also be able to refer your complaint to the ADR body directly - check below for whether your airline has agreed to participate in an ADR scheme, and for the contact details of the different CAA-approved ADR bodies.
Passengers also have the option of seeking redress via County Court under Small Claims procedures where they believe that an airline has failed to meet their passenger rights. County Court Judgements (CCJs) can then be issued to an airline requiring them to make payment to the passenger. It is unusual to see such a high number of CCJs issued against an airline over a short period of time and we understand this is likely a consequence of Wizz Air failing to respond to complaints or to make compensation payments in a timely manner.
More information can be found here.