By Cecilia Butini
The Italian Competition Authority AGCM said Friday that it has launched a probe into European low-cost airlines Blue Panorama, easyJet PLC, Ryanair Holdings PLC and Vueling over their handling of flight cancellations and reimbursements during the coronavirus pandemic.
The authority said the probe would focus on flight cancellations that were blamed on the coronavirus pandemic even when these happened outside of travel-restriction periods.
Contextually, AGCM is challenging the companies over their decision to issue vouchers to passengers instead of reimbursing the price of the canceled tickets.
According to the antitrust body, the four airlines didn't inform customers of their rights in case of cancellation, and offered them limited or expensive customer support.
AGCM said it started the investigation after receiving an increasing number of complaints from customers and in the wake of similar proceedings launched against Italian carrier Alitalia SpA and Spanish low-cost airline Volotea SA in July.
EasyJet said in an emailed statement: "We are aware of the proceedings started by the AGCM and will fully cooperate with the authority's investigation. EasyJet continues to offer all our customers whose flight is cancelled the choice between an alternative flight, a voucher or a cash refund, and in full compliance with applicable EU and Italian laws."
Representatives for Blue Panorama, Ryanair and Vueling weren't immediately reachable for comment.
Write to Cecilia Butini at email@example.com