Belfast Telegraph

Wizz Air sees profits at top end as passenger numbers soar

The airline was hit by hefty fuel costs in the third quarter.

Wizz Air said trading has been in line with expectations (Steve Parsons/PA)
Wizz Air said trading has been in line with expectations (Steve Parsons/PA)

Wizz Air has said net profits will be in the upper half of expectations this year, as demand for its budget services increased.

The Hungarian airline said net profits for the year to March 31 would be at the higher end of a range between 270 million and 300 million euros (£231.6 million-£257.4 million).

Passenger numbers were up almost 10% in March to more than 2.7 million, taking the 12-month rolling total to over 34.57 million.

It comes after a turbulent third quarter, in which the company revealed a 90% hit to pre-tax profits due to rising fuel costs and pilot salary increases.

The rising price of fuel has hit the bottom line of several travel operators, with easyJet revealing earlier this week that it would make a loss in the first half due to rising costs.

Wizz said demand had remained robust, while its operational performance improved, with only one cancellation in March 2019 versus 68 in the same period last year.

Load factor during March increased to 94.1%, up from 91.5%, while capacity increased by 6.9%.

For the new financial year, the airline forecasts a 4% rise in revenue per available seat per kilometre (Rask) during the first quarter.

Costs excluding fuel are expected to be broadly flat.

Wizz has also taken delivery of two Airbus A321 NEO aircraft, which increases the size of its fleet to 112.