Budget carrier Wizz Air has “committed” to the UK’s aviation regulator to clear backlogs of outstanding passenger claims and payments after criticism of the high volume of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) complaints it incurred.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says its latest quarterly data shows 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.

Airbus A320

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Wizz accrued 811 complaints per million passengers, with almost all other airlines having less than half as many, and many significantly less, according to the CAA.

CAA head of consumer policy and enforcement Anna Bowles, says: ”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.”

The CAA says Wizz Air has acknowledged and expressed regret over these problems and has committed to clear the backlogs of claims and outstanding ADR payments by Christmas. Wizz Air is also working to identify and conclude all outstanding County Court Judgements which have found against Wizz.

”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,” says Bowles.

Wizz says it is working hard to resolve all outstanding claims as quickly as possible. ”The major disruption we navigated last summer meant that we have been dealing with an unprecedented number of claims. Despite this, 91% of claims have already been processed,” the airline says.

”We have recently doubled the size of our customer services team and are working continuously to process all outstanding customer claims, Alternative Dispute Resolution claims and settle all County Court Judgements. 

Bowles says the CAA 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,” she says.

Story upated to include Wizz Air comment