Wizz Air eyes recovery next yearEuropost
The low-cost carrier Wizz Air announced that toughest times linked to the pandemic downturn are already in the past but it still expects to fully recover from the coronavirus driven crisis next year as travel demand rebounds from the pandemic, chief executive Jozsef Varadi said. Speaking at the virtual Paris Air Forum, Varadi repeated recent comments that the Hungary-based airline would fly more seats this summer than it was flying two years ago before the pandemic struck.
"From my perspective, 2022 should be a fairly robust year in terms of delivering not just the volume of traffic but also the financial performance attached to it," he said. "I'm looking at 2022 as a year of full recovery for Wizz Air."
Despite the uncertainty, Wizz and low-cost peers such as Ryanair have used the crisis to add new routes as traditional airline rivals retrench. The carrier now has 43 aircraft bases operating or announced, compared with 25 before the pandemic. Wizz has also leveraged a strong cash position to continue acquiring new, more efficient jets that will sharpen its competitive edge in an eventual rebound. Its fleet increased by 16 aircraft to 137 at year end.
The airline said it expects to fly around 30% of its pre-crisis capacity in its current first quarter, returning to full schedules only in its 2022-23 financial year.
Speaking alongside Varadi, Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith said he had been pleasantly surprised at the demand among travelers visiting friends and family. "We are hoping to run about 60-65% of capacity this summer."