Fast-growing budget airline Wizz Air has become the latest European carrier to reduce its summer schedule in an attempt to avoid further cancellations.
The Hungary-based airline said that it was paring back its previously planned summer capacity by 5 per cent for the peak season to “reduce the impact of ongoing external disruptions”.
Wizz, which has already exceeded its pre-Covid seat capacity, said it would still be increasing available seat kilometres (ASKs) this summer by around 35 per cent compared with the same period in 2019.
“To be able to avoid cancellations and secure a more punctual operation to our customers, we have further improved the agility and resilience of our network including adjusting schedules where we have seen a higher occurrence of issues, for example: slot allocation issues, turn-around timings,” said the airline in a trading statement.
This latest capacity cut continues a trend for European airlines to reduce their planned schedules: British Airways cut another 10,300 flights from its summer schedule last week, while Dutch carrier KLM plans to cancel 10 to 20 flights to European destinations every day until 28 August due to staff shortages.
Wizz said that it had seen net fares increase by 6 per cent in June compared with pre-Covid levels as the airline tried to “pass through higher input costs” by increasing fares. The airline added that fuel costs had risen by 94 per cent on comparable 2019 costs.
The airline said it had made an operating loss of €285 million for the quarter running from April to June. Wizz added that its liquidity “remains strong” with around €1.6 billion in cash at the end of June.
Wizz said it expected to make a “material” operating profit in the current quarter, running to the end of September, as it benefited from higher revenue and prices. It added that load factors were up to more than 90 per cent in July.