Even though the Hungarian ultra-low-cost airline Wizz Air met a four-times increased demand for air travel in Q1 2021, its Chief Executive Officer Jozsef Varadi said that the period between April and July 2021 remained challenging.
Varandi outlined that due to prolonged mobility restrictions, Wizz Air has operated only 33% of its available capacity. However, compared to Q1 2020, the airline carried more than 2.95 million passengers, which is equal to a more than 317% rise in passenger numbers. A significant increase in air travel demand helped the low-cost carrier to generate revenue of almost €200 million, which is an increase of 119% in comparison to last year’s levels. However, such revenue was not enough to escape the loss, which reached more than €118 million in Q1 2021.
“The first quarter of F22 remained challenging for the Company as we operated only 33% of our capacity […],” Varandi was quoted in a statement. “Through the quarter we did see encouraging recovery patterns in passenger air travel. People began returning to flying despite mobility restrictions still impacting travel. We carried 3 million passengers during the quarter, more than four times the number we carried in the same period of last year.“
While expecting the rest of the summer season to be busy, Wizz Air has ramped up its operations and focused on business development. The airline has recruited and trained 600 additional staff members, including flight and cabin crew. It also has expanded the network by adding two more bases in the Italian market, including Rome and Naples, bringing a number of hubs in the country to a total of six. The air carrier now will offer its services to and from Milan, Catania, Palermo, Barin, Rome, and Naples.
“We continued to strengthen our network for the future, expanding our Italian market presence further by adding two more bases, in Rome and Naples. Rome, Fiumicino began operating with five new A321 aircraft from July and Naples will have a 2 aircraft operation starting as of August,“ Varadi said.
Despite the recorded loss, Wizz Air still hopes for a strong recovery amid the summer season. The company has ambitions to become the “first major European airline to fully recover the capacity to pre-Covid-19 levels” while aiming to fly between 90% and 100% of its pre-pandemic capacity in July and August 2021.