By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com -- Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON: WIZZ ) has reported a widening in half-year losses stemming in part from a surge in fuel costs that offset an uptick in passenger demand.
The Hungary-based airline posted an operating loss for the six months to September 30 of 63.8M euros, deepening a contraction of 51.9M euros in the corresponding period in 2021.
Total operating expenses spiked by 142.2% to just under 2.26B euros, as fuel unit costs increased sharply. This outweighed total revenue, which had more than doubled year-on-year to 2.19B euros thanks to an inflation-driven jump in the value of passenger ticket sales.
The number of customers flying with the Ryanair rival also grew to 26.5M, a 112% leap. Meanwhile, the company's load factor, which measures the amount of seats filled per flight, rose to 86.9%.
In a statement, chief executive officer József Váradi said the business was "well-positioned" to become profitable in the future.
He added that operations had "normalized" following a number of significant issues - including labor shortages and delays at airports - that had plagued Wizz Air and its peers earlier in the year. Meanwhile, seat utilization levels are seen returning to pre-pandemic levels next spring, while moves to hedge against fuel cost increases will also be rolled out in April 2023.
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