March 25, 2023

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Fine from ANPC for Blue Air – 10 million lei

The National Authority for Consumer Protection has sanctioned Blue Air with over 10 million lei for the canceled flights starting from June 15, 2022 until now, ANPC informs in a statement.

“Given the situation generated on the market by the commercial behavior of the economic operator Blue Air Aviation SA and its continuation, the National Authority for Consumer Protection (ANPC) carried out an extensive control action that took into account the way to comply with the legal provisions of the field of consumer protection regarding the operator’s air transport services, initially checking the situation of canceled flights between 15.06.2022 – 30.08.2022 and the offers made by the economic operator both on the official website,, and on its official Facebook page or from the Blue Air application, and later extended as a result of information appearing in the public space regarding the cancellation of all flights from 09/06/2022 to 10/10/2022. Despite the difficult conduct of the investigation, caused by the delayed reactions of the economic operator to the requests of the ANPC team of commissioners regarding various documents necessary for the investigation, the conclusions of the analysis of the situation have been finalized”, the press release states.

Thus, the control team found the use of unfair commercial practices on a large scale by the economic operator. Considering the provisions of art. 3 point 3 of Regulation (EU) no. 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12.12.2017, this means any action or omission that contravenes the legislation that protects the interests of consumers and that has caused, is causing or could cause damage to the collective interests of consumers who reside in at least two member states different from the state in which the action or omission in question originated or took place or in whose territory the merchant responsible for the action or omission in question is established, states the quoted source.

“Here is Blue Air making its last flight and leaving the market, as we said three months ago. From the last sanction to this second assessment, more than 100,000 consumers go through what the first ones went through, in the last two years. Where their money ended up, what it was spent on and how it will ever be recovered remains a great enigma. One of the company’s planes is lying on a runway of Baneasa airport, without both engines. I wonder how many races he would have had to perform, given that, without propellants, he could not even travel on DN1. With no fuel, no airport taxes paid, no wages paid up to date, I still wonder how the races were going to be executed and why they were promoted when it was known they could not be completed. I’m not even talking about the fact that without airplanes things would have been even more complicated. Do they or don’t they have all these things? I wonder because the company representatives did not want to answer us. I publicly declare that I submit to the polygraph test for the following aspects: if the company representative told us that he is considering leaving the market in the fall, if he told us that they will no longer have airplanes with which to complete the races. Considering how much money is missing from consumers’ pockets, the fines applied by our Authority seem extremely small to me. I apologize to each victim for the past years, when things could have been more firmly sanctioned”, said Horia Constantinescu, ANPC president.

The conclusions of the investigations carried out by the ANPC commissioners showed that the economic operator Blue Air Aviation SA did not propose commitments or a plan of reparative measures for consumers within the deadline set by the competent authorities. During the analyzed period, namely June 15 – September 12, 2022, 150,227 consumers from 23 member states of the European Union were affected, and the economic operator’s practice was repetitive.

The value of damages suffered by consumers exceeds the amount of 19.582 million euros (equivalent, calculated at the exchange rate from September 16), respectively over 96.447 million lei (equivalent, calculated at the exchange rate from September 16, 2022), for the period analyzed and represents only the value of the purchased tickets , in reality the damage is much greater.

At the same time, the actual reimbursement of the ticket value for canceled flights was made to a very small number of passengers who were actually reimbursed, respectively 598 reservations were reimbursed (representing 0.7% of the total of 80,826 canceled reservations), the total amount of actual reimbursements being the equivalent of 115,016.11 euros (0.6% of the total amount of canceled reservations). A percentage of 9.8% of the total amount to be reimbursed, i.e. the amount of approximately 1.925 million euros was reimbursed in the wallet (electronic wallet), representing 10,685 reimbursements.

“Following these findings, the ANPC commissioners team decided to impose 2 contravention fines, one in the amount of 2,000,000 euros, equivalent in lei at the exchange rate of 4.10.2022, for the large-scale impact on consumers, at the level of the European Union, and another in the amount of 200,000 lei for repeated violations. The total fines amount to 10,094,200 lei”, the press release states.

Complementary sanctions were also applied, respectively: the remedial measure is ordered; the measure to stop unfair commercial practices is proposed, in the sense of no longer placing misleading flight offers on the market, available to consumers, for which the economic operator does not have the necessary resources to carry them out; it is proposed to suspend the provision of services until the termination of the incorrect commercial practice or until the fulfillment of the ordered measures.

Blue Air announced, for the first time on September 6, that it would suspend all scheduled flights until September 12, prompting, at the time, the seizure of all the company’s accounts by the Ministry of the Environment.

Although the Environmental Fund Administration announced a day later, on September 7, that it had decided to suspend the seizure of Blue Air Aviation’s cash and set a 12-month schedule for paying the debt, the low-cost airline operator announced that it would resumed flights only from October 10, specifying that it did not have the necessary funds to pay for fuel and other operational expenses, necessary for the flights planned starting from September 12.

Later, at the end of September, the low-cost airline operator announced that it would not resume flights from October 10 and that it was in discussions with potential investors, creditors and the Romanian Government to restructure its capital profile.

Source – Agerpres / online editor – Daniel Șăndăreanu

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