The outspoken CEO of Europe’s largest budget airline, Michael O’Leary, has lashed out at Hungary’s “idiotic” minister for economic development, Márton Nagy, in response to the Hungarian government’s windfall tax on large corporations announced at the end of May.
In an interview with the HVG business news portal published on Monday, Ryanair’s O’Leary criticized the Hungarian government for attempting to intervene in how airlines set their prices for consumers.
“This Márton Nagy is a complete idiot,” O’Leary said. “We cannot understand his argument that an ‘extra-profit special tax’ should be imposed on the aviation industry when we suffered record losses last year due to Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.
“Ryanair has reported a loss of €355 million over the past 12 months, with Wizz Air, the second largest airline in Hungary after Ryanair, reporting (losses of) almost €650 million,” O’Leary added.
“So these two airlines alone have brought in a loss of €1 billion in the last 12 months, and this idiot minister thinks we are the industry that should be subject to an extra profit tax to protect Hungarian families?”
His remarks were followed by more of the same during the interview, as O’Leary slammed the “stupid” and “crazy” government action.
The windfall tax announced last month mainly affects energy companies and banks, but airlines will also have to pay an extra €10 for each ticket sold, which Ryanair has already announced it will pass on to customers.