By Tony Winterburn • 03 February 2021 • 11:13
Wizz Air Reports Large Drop In Passenger Numbers For January. image: Wizz Air
Wizz Air Reports Large Drop In Passenger Numbers For January As Carryings Slump By 81%.
Wizz Air has reported that it started the new year with an 81% fall in carrying. The Hungarian budget carrier flew 573,692 passengers in January against more than 3.1 million in the same month last year.
The load factor fell by 29.2 percentage points year-on-year to 61% while capacity was cut by 73% to 940,410 seats. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and global travel restrictions is highlighted in the airline’s rolling 12-month figures, showing passenger numbers down by more than half to 19.7 million against 43.1 million in the equivalent period to January 2020.
However, Wizz Air continued to expand its network in January with the start of operations in Abu Dhabi with an inaugural flight to Athens. After years of double-digit growth, Wizz Air’s seat count dropped by 43% in the first 10 months of 2020. This compares with a 55% capacity drop for all of Europe.
The budget carier returned capacity more aggressively than the market when it emerged from its grounding in the Jul-Sep 2020 quarter. However, the ultra LCC has applied the brakes following renewed lockdown and travel restrictions, and capacity is now below the European average as a percentage of 2019 levels.
In spite of reduced near term capacity plans, Wizz Air expects there to be opportunities in the crisis. Its fleet will increase by 13% in FY2021 and more than double by FY2027. Its seat share has grown in its Central/Eastern Europe core market and it is opening 13 new bases across Europe, from the UK to Russia.
Moreover, Wizz Air can afford to wait out any extension of the period of weak demand. CEO József Váradi has said that its cash balance is enough to last for two years, even with a full lockdown and no flying.
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