At the beginning of August, Wizz Air Hungary became the first airline in Europe, to obtain an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.
Hungary will continue to be identified as "State of Operator" with regard to the airline’s AOC.
The EASA Basic Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 introduced in 2018 the possibility for organizations operating in more than one EU Member State, to request that EASA act as its competent authority, responsible for safety oversight and certification.
The regulatory transition supports the multinational expansion of the Wizz Air Group, the press release notes. The group currently operates a fleet of 126 Airbus A320 family aircraft flying to 46 countries connecting over 160 cities.
The company argues that EASA’s oversight enables the airline to enhance cooperation with national civil aviation authorities across its current and prospective markets.
Wizz Air Hungary continues to fly under the Hungarian flag and the Hungarian Civil Aviation Authority continues to exercise regulatory control over the carrier’s operating license and route permits.
"I am delighted to announce that Hungary is the first Member State that innovates Europe’s airline regulation, while Wizz Air Hungary is the first airline to have EASA as a European competent authority overseeing its AOC," Wizz Air CEO József Váradi says. "This groundbreaking regulatory model between the Hungarian and European authorities underpins Wizz Air’s growth ambitions and provides many new opportunities to innovate the industry as it has done during the past 16 years."
EASA executive director Patrick Ky adds, "We are very happy to have such a young and dynamic airline as the first airplane operator under oversight of EASA. The EU operating certificate is well-suited for airlines such as Wizz Air which have multiple operating bases in different EASA member states. As the centralized competent authority for Wizz Air’s operations, EASA will ensure an internationally recognized high standard of oversight for the airline."
Wizz Airʼs passenger numbers reached 1,824,452 in July, up from 502,253 in June, state news wire MTI reported earlier this week, citing monthly data by the carrier.
Passenger numbers were still down almost 53% from 3,881,750 in July 2019. Wizz Airʼs load factor was down at 60.5% in July, down from 95.6% in the base period, but up from 52.2% in the previous month.
Passenger numbers of the airline fell with travel restrictions introduced due to the pandemic to below 78,400 in April from over 3 million both in January and February. They rose to exceed 126,500 in May.