For the current 12-month financial year run, Wizz Air is forecasting a further round of solid growth despite geopolitical issues the industry has to deal with. Image Credit: Courtesy: Wizz Air

Dubai: The European budget carrier Wizz Air has swung back into profits for 2023, for the first time in three years, after delivering a strong 21.4 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 62 million.

Profit for the financial year ending March 31 came to 365.9 million euros, from a loss of 535.1 million euros a year ago. Revenues totalled 5 billion euros, a 30.2 per cent increase on the year before 3.89 billion euros.

Wizz also operates an Abu Dhabi based airline, which is a joint venture with the UAE investment company ADQ.

Despite the revenue and return to profit, the financial year provided Wizz Air with quite a few challenges. “We also faced unprecedented supply chain disruption due to mandatory engine material inspections, affecting our (Airbus) neo aircraft fleet,” said József Váradi, CEO, in a statement.

“We placed a sharp focus on increasing utilisation, improving load factors and lowering unit costs (fuel and ex-fuel), and continued to invest in our operations. Our efforts saw us carry a record number of passengers during the year, return to profitability and reduce financial leverage while maintaining our total cash position.

“We responded rapidly to challenges during the year by flexing resources and commercial arrangements, and quickly redeploying capacity where needed, as renewed geopolitical instability emerged.”

Early forecasts for ‘25

Wizz Air projects net income to be in the range of 500 million euros to 600 million euros, at current FX rates. Revenues could be up in high single digits. But the airline reckons geopolitical issues will continue to be unpredictable.

“While some of the external challenges we experienced throughout FY24 - including groundings due to GTF engine inspections and geopolitical instability - are expected to persist in the coming year, we have proven that our model is agile, highly resilient and well positioned to mitigate the impact of these ongoing issues,” said Váradi.

“This includes the current scale and diversity of our network, which means we are incredibly well placed to react quickly to issues as they arise.

“While our capacity expectations for the year have been moderated in response to these changes in the operating environment, new aircraft deliveries persist, and our efforts to drive productivity and utilisation continue to deliver results. As we enter FY25, demand for air travel remains robust, with no sign of abating in the near term, supporting a higher yield environment as capacity across the whole industry remains constrained.”

Our Middle East route network is maturing as expected. During the year, we added a further two aircraft in Abu Dhabi, exceeding initial fleet size expectations there.

- József Váradi of Wizz Air
Wizz Air fleet
• During FY24, Wizz Air took delivery of 39 new A321neo aircraft, and 12 A320ceo aircraft were redelivered. It ended the fiscal year with a total fleet of 208 aircraft.

• During the period, delivered aircraft were financed through 30 sale-and-leaseback arrangements and 9 Japanese Operating Leases with Call Options (JOLCOs).

• Wizz Air is extending leases for 11 additional aircraft from the existing fleet (on top of 13 completed).

• The carrier also secured three former Wizz Air aircraft on dry lease (to be delivered this financial year). It is also adding 8 wet leased aircraft for periods ranging from six to twelve months.

• The average age of the fleet currently stands at 4.3 years, the youngest fleet among major European carriers.