Four of the biggest airlines operating in the UK have been ordered to pay more than £4.5 million in outstanding court judgments, with Wizz Air accounting for almost half of the total.
The county court judgments have been made against the airlines after they failed to pay passenger refunds, expenses and compensation. A High Court enforcement officer has issued dozens of writs against Wizz Air.
The Hungarian budget carrier was found to have 1,601 county court judgments it failed to pay, amounting to £2,166,044, according to official records.
EasyJet was the second worst offender, with 884 outstanding judgements amounting to £611,436. Ryanair has 840 worth £549,892 and Tui has 313 worth £1,261,897.
EasyJet told consumer group Which? that none of the court judgments listed as outstanding were unpaid.
And Wizz Air said it had paid 400 of the outstanding county court judgements since December, adding that the third-party records were not current. It said it was trying to get the record updated.
“Regrettably there are outstanding cases that we are working to resolve as quickly as possible,” a spokesman told the Telegraph. “We are taking this matter extremely seriously. Customers can contact us directly using our website or app to provide information about an outstanding judgement.”
The other airlines did not respond to Which?.
Trust Online, the official register of court judgments, told Which?: “Even when a judgment is paid, the judgment will continue to show as ‘unsatisfied’ until the court records are updated.”
It added that it was the defendant’s responsibility to update the court when the payments were made.
Wizz Air was named the UK’s worst for delays last summer.
Two thirds of Wizz Air’s flights in and out of the UK were delayed by 15 minutes or longer last summer, according to data from the national Civil Aviation Authority.
It had the longest average delay among all its rivals, at 55 minutes, according to research based on data from more than 385,000 flights from June to August.
Wizz Air made more than 15,000 flights in and out of Britain in that period and 10,431 of those were at least 15 minutes late.
The airline suspended on Tuesday all its flights to and from Moldova this week due to security concerns linked to growing tensions with Russia.
“Due to recent developments and the high, though not imminent, risk in the country's airspace, Wizz Air has taken the difficult but responsible decision to suspend all its flights to Chisinau as of March 14,” the airline said.
Moldova, a pro-European republic of 2.6 million people located between Romania and Ukraine, has feared that it could be Moscow's next target ever since Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine a year ago.
In recent weeks the EU-candidate nation has reported “attempts at destabilisation”.
Its territory has been hit by debris from the war in Ukraine several times and Moldova has occasionally shut down its own airspace during the Ukraine conflict.
Moldova has also suffered energy blackouts after Ukraine stopped exporting electricity because of Russian air strikes on critical infrastructure.
But Wizz Air is the first airline to announce such a suspension of flights.
Two weeks ago, Moldova's president Maia Sandu accused Russia of plotting to overthrow the country's pro-European leadership with the help of saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters.
Moscow denied the claim.