Wizz Air posts record profits in third quarter


Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air had revenues of EUR 421.2 million in the third quarter of its business year, ending December 31, up 24.0% year-on-year, an earnings report released on Wednesday shows. Net profit was up 3.6% to a record EUR 14.0 mln.

Revenue from ticket sales increased by 26.1% to EUR 241.7 mln, while non-ticket revenues rose by 21.3% to EUR 181.1 mln.

Passenger numbers climbed 24.3% to 7.1 mln, while load factor increased 1.4 percentage points to 89.4%.

Operating costs jumped 25.4% to EUR 408.2 mln on higher payroll, fuel, marketing and maintenance costs, the airline explained.

Wizz Air CEO József Váradi was cited by state news agency MTI as saying that payroll costs, which increased 28%, were raised mainly by pilotsʼ paychecks. Fuel costs, the airlineʼs other main expenditure, rose 33%. Higher costs were in part offset by the delivery of more Airbus A321 aircraft, which are 10% cheaper to operate than A320 aircraft, he added.

Profit was up 3.6% at EUR 14.0 million. However, Wizz Air noted that the comparison was made to earnings adjusted for exceptional items in the base period, adding that its adoption of IFRS 9 reporting standards had removed the main cause of such exceptional items.

In guidance included in the report, Wizz Air put its net profits for the 2018 financial year at between EUR 265 mln and EUR 280 mln.

Online news portal hvg.hu cited Váradi as saying that a modest increase in air ticket prices is expected this year as airlines reduce capacities in response to rising costs, although he did not estimate the scale of the fare increases.

Reacting to recent reports that Wizz Air is interested in acquiring some of the routes of troubled Italian carrier Alitalia, Váradi noted that Italy is its second biggest European market and that development opportunities are being examined and discussed. However, he added, the airline has not submitted any offer and is thus under no obligation for the time being.

At the end of the quarter, Wizz Air was operating its fleet of 88 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft from 28 bases, linking 145 destination in 44 countries along more than 550 routes, noted hvg.hu.

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