Wizz Air Shares Surge as Airline Forecasts Annual Profit

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Wizz Air Shares Surge as Airline Forecasts Annual Profit
Credit: © Reuters.

By Scott Kanowsky 

Investing.com -- Shares in Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON: WIZZ ) jumped on Wednesday after the ultra-low-cost carrier said it expects to deliver a full-year profit, thanks in part to a recovery in first quarter passenger numbers and revenue to above pre-pandemic levels.

The number of people flying Wizz Air rose by 312.4% versus the same period in 2021 to 12,182,156, as travel demand recovered following the easing of COVID restrictions. The uptick in passengers during the three months to June 30 helped spur a sharp increase in total sales to €808.8M, up 306.4% year-on-year.

The airline added that both passenger figures and sales were up by "almost 20%" compared to trading before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

"During Q1 F23 we invested to re-establish our proven pre-pandemic operating model," said Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi in a statement. "We are seeing the results of this investment already through Q2 and we expect to deliver a material operating profit as revenue and pricing momentum continue to improve.”

However, the Hungary-based company posted an operating loss of €285M during the period, due to a 40% surge in unit costs stemming mainly from heavy fuel price inflation. On a net basis, a recent strengthening in the U.S. dollar drove the loss even deeper to €453M.

Váradi, who previously warned in June that Wizz Air would report a quarterly loss, said the firm remains "very conscious" of potential "macroeconomic and operational" headwinds.

"Lingering restrictions from COVID-19 remained, particularly during April and May, while the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions affecting air traffic control, security and ground operation resources have impacted our utilization," he said.

Váradi added these delays are showing signs of "normalization" following a move by the company to slash capacity over its key summer period by 5% to help ease the burden on staff and supply chains.

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