Wizz Air warns of slow rebound for aviation industry in 2022

Jun 2, 2021

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The recovery for the aviation industry is underway after the pandemic, but one airline is warning that it will be 2023 before air travel returns to normal.

Wizz Air said Wednesday it expects to lose money in 2022 as business and leisure travellers slowly return to the skies and the vaccine rollout continues across Europe.

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“We expect 2022 to be a transition year where we will experience a slow but gradual recovery, mostly subject to the pace of vaccinations globally including in Europe,” said airline CEO Jozsef Varadi.

The Hungarian-based budget airline reported a loss of 576 million euros (£496 million) in the 12 months up to the end of March. The number of passengers and overall revenue were both down about 75% from the previous year’s reports, which was to be expected given that air travel was, until recently, essentially crippled since March 2020.

Wizz Air has added new routes in recent months as travel has bumped up incrementally, as has rival budget carrier Ryanair. But the airline noted that the lifting of restrictions — such as mandatory quarantine periods — has been slower than anticipated and that has hampered its ability to resume normal operations. The low-cost carrier expects to fly at around 30% of its normal capacity during the first quarter of the 2022 financial year.

Related: Why one low-cost airline is expanding in the UK despite the pandemic

The news wasn’t all bad, however. The airline has a hefty amount of cash on its ledgers, which enabled it to add 16 new jets to its fleet. And as long as the vaccine rollout continues at its current pace, Wizz Air expects to be back operating at full capacity for 2023.

“We will become an even more formidable company, that will continue to create shareholder value and top-of-the-class profitability,” the company said.

Featured photo by BSR Agency/Getty Images.

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