Wizz Air says operational performance has normalized, eyes more winter flying

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Wizz Air set a new record for daily flights and quarterly passenger numbers in summer 2022, despite being plagued by disruption in the early part of the season.  

The low-cost airline said it operated 859 flights in a single day on September 5, 2022 and carried 12.9 million passengers between June and August.  

“Wizz Air delivered strong results in the second quarter of the fiscal year, after a difficult first quarter operationally,” chief executive József Váradi commented in a first half results statement issued on November 2, 2022.  

“Our operational performance has recently normalized and we are now back in line with our historically low levels of cancellations and flight disruptions,” Varadi added.  

Many European airlines have canceled and delayed flights in summer 2022 due to staff shortages in the aviation sector. According to Eurocontrol data, around 7.4% of Wizz Air scheduled flights did not fly between April and October, second only to cancellations at SAS, which was hit by pilot strikes.   

Along with Ryanair, Wizz is the only other European carrier that is consistently flying more than it did before the pandemic. Wizz, which has historically focused on eastern Europe, said it expected to operate around 35% more capacity in the second half of its financial year when compared with pre-pandemic levels.  

“While the macroeconomic backdrop remains challenging and uncertainty for consumers has heightened, we have put in place measures to mitigate the impact on our costs,” Varadi said.  

While the airline expects a net loss for the second half of the financial year to March 31, 2023, it predicts a return to profit for the 2024 financial year.  

In the second quarter, Wizz said revenue rose 41% versus pre-COVID levels, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amoritization (EBITDA) turned “strongly positive” to €374 million ($370 million).  

Gulf expansion and 500 aircraft 

Wizz Air has a target to operate 500 aircraft by the end of the decade. In the first half of its financial year, it took delivery of 21 new Airbus A321neo aircraft and redelivered six older A320ceo planes. It ended the first half with an all Airbus A320-family fleet of 168 aircraft, although said this number has since increased to 172, as of November 2, 2022.  

For the rest of the year, Wizz Air expects to take delivery of 14 new A321neo aircraft, while nine A320ceo aircraft will exit the fleet once their leases have ended. However, late deliveries from Airbus mean it is expecting nine fewer aircraft than planned for the 2023 fiscal year.   

As part of its expansion strategy, Wizz Air has recently announced plans for the Gulf region, including a deal to launch a range of new routes to and from Saudi Arabia.  

“Our diversification strategy into the Gulf will also see more inbound and outbound routes to the Middle East and we are expecting moderate counter-seasonal contribution in terms of traffic and revenues from these destinations,” Varadi said in the results statement.  

 

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