Wizz Air Hungary Ltd.
IATA ICAO Callsign
W6[1] WZZ WIZZ AIR
FoundedSeptember 2003; 20 years ago (2003-09)
Commenced operations19 May 2004; 19 years ago (2004-05-19)
AOC #EASA.AOC.001
Parent companyWizz Air Holdings Plc
HeadquartersBudapest, Hungary
Key peopleRoland Tischner (Officer Wizz Air Hungary Operations)[2]
Wizz Air Holdings Plc
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program
  • Wizz Discount Club
  • Wizz Privilege Pass
  • Wizz MultiPass
Subsidiaries
Fleet size200
Destinations196 (November 2023)[3]
Traded as
Key people
RevenueIncrease €3,895.7 million (2023)[4]
Operating incomeDecrease €(466.8) million (2023)[4]
Net incomeIncrease €(535.1) million (2023)[4]
Employeesc. 7,300 (2023)[3]
Websitewww.wizzair.com

Wizz Air Holdings Plc is a Hungarian ultra low-cost carrier group registered in Jersey. The company includes the subsidiaries Wizz Air Hungary, Wizz Air Malta, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Wizz Air UK. The airlines serve many cities across Europe, as well as some destinations in North Africa, the Middle East as well as South and Central Asia.[5] As of 2023, the airline group has its largest bases at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport[6] and London Luton Airport and flies to 194 airports.[3] The holding company is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.[7]

The oldest airline of the group is Wizz Air Hungary Ltd. (Hungarian: Wizz Air Hungary Légiközlekedési Zrt.) and has its head office in Budapest. Wizz Air Hungary has the largest fleet of any Hungarian airline, although it is not a flag carrier.

History

Foundation and expansion

Wizz Air Hungary was established in September 2003. The lead investor is Indigo Partners, an American private equity firm[8] specialising in transportation investments. The first flight was made from Katowice International Airport on 19 May 2004.[9] The airline's CEO is József Váradi, former CEO of Malév Hungarian Airlines. The company is registered in Pest County, Hungary.[10]

On 25 February 2015, Wizz Air shares began trading on the London Stock Exchange.[11]

In November 2017, Wizz Air announced its planned launch of a British division called Wizz Air UK, based at London Luton mainly to take advantage of landing slots acquired when Monarch Airlines entered administration that year.[12] The airline applied successfully to the CAA for an AOC and a Type A Operating Licence. The airline launched operations in March 2018 using British registered aircraft. Wizz Air UK was to start taking over UK-bound flights previously operated by Wizz Air, and plans called for the airline to employ up to 100 staff by the end of 2018.[13]

In November 2018, Wizz Air announced plans to reactivate its Wizz Air Ukraine subsidiary, approximately three years after its closure. The airline would seek to complete certification in 2019 following the acquisition of twenty A320/321 neo jets. Bases were to be developed in Kyiv and cities across the country, with a planned passenger throughput of 6 million per annum by 2025.[14]

Pandemic

By early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Wizz Air to ground its fleet.[15] Although it was announced in March that no redundancies were planned, one-fifth of the staff were dismissed when it became clear that air travel across the continent was shutting down.[16] In April 2020, based on passenger numbers, Wizz Air became Europe's largest low-cost airline with 78,000 passengers.[17] By mid-June, they had reached 40 percent of their previous year's normal weekly revenue, while the proportion of no-shows fell from 80 percent in April to 30 percent.[18] In July 2020, the airline announced that it would form a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company.[19]

In October 2020, Wizz took delivery of an A330-200F cargo aircraft (HA-LHU, formerly Qatar Cargo), operating it on behalf of the Hungarian Government as 'Hungary Air Cargo'.[20] The same month, it announced that its first Scandinavian base would be opened at Oslo's Gardermoen Airport in November 2020; the two aircraft based there would also undertake domestic flights within Norway.[21] However, ticket sales for domestic flights after 13 June 2021 were subsequently stopped.[22]

Renewed expansion

On 3 February 2021, Wizz Air announced the opening of its second base in Bosnia and Herzegovina, after Tuzla; the airline would open a base at Sarajevo with one Airbus A320. The airline announced nine new destinations from Sarajevo with 21 weekly departures.[23]

In April 2021, as planned, Wizz Air added Abu Dhabi to its services, offering connections to Europe beyond the UAE to neighbouring Arab countries.[24]

In August 2021, company management announced that they plan to hire 4,600 new pilots by 2030, with the first part of their plan to train and hire nearly 500 pilots by the end of 2021.[25]

In September 2021, rival low-cost carrier EasyJet claimed it had rejected a takeover offer from Wizz Air.[26]

On 14 November 2021, on the first day of the Dubai Airshow, Wizz Air was one of four airlines that ordered additional A321neo jets. Wizz Air is due to receive a total of 75 A321neo and 27 A321XLRs, adding up to 102 new aircraft.[citation needed]

In May 2022, Wizz Air said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment to collaborate on potential investment and operating models to boost the country's tourism industry and increase its connectivity.[27][28] The same month, the company announced its intention to form a subsidiary in Malta, named Wizz Air Malta.[29] In August 2022, it was announced that former Ryanair executive Diarmuid O Conghaile would join the newly formed company as managing director from 1 November 2022.[30]

Wizz Air intends to increase its fleet from 180 aircraft to 500 by the end of the decade.[31]

2022 Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, four Wizz Air aircraft were stranded in Ukraine, three in Kyiv and one in Lviv[32] though the aircraft at Lviv has since been recovered and re-entered service.[32][33]

Flying was curtailed for two weeks by the outbreak of war, but Wizz Air soon returned to normal operations with the exception of the Ukrainian and Russian markets, which remained suspended.[34]

In March 2022, amid the invasion, Wizz Air provided 100,000 free airline tickets to refugees for short-distance flights from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.[35][36]

Corporate affairs

Business trends

The key trends for the Wizz Air Group over recent years are (as of the financial year ending 31 March):

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Revenue (€m) 1,011 1,227 1,429 1,571 1,948 2,327 2,761 0,739 1,663 3,896
Net profit (€m) 87.7 183 192 225 275 123 281 −576 −642 −535
Number of employees 1,650 2,040 2,396 3,033 3,686 4,261 4,440 3,960 5,772 7,389
Number of passengers (m) 13.9 16.5 20.0 23.8 29.6 34.6 40.0 10.2 27.1 51.0
Load factor (%) 85.7 86.7 88.2 90.1 91.3 93.6 93.5 64.0 78.1 87.8
Number of served airports 96 110 124 141 135 146 155 166 194 228
Number of served countries 35 38 39 42 44 44 45 44 50 56
Fleet size 46 55 67 79 93 112 121 137 153 179
CO2/RPK (g) 61.5 59.9 58.5 57.2 77.3 60.7 53.8
References [37][38] [37] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46]

As of November 2023 the group expects a net profit of €350-400 million for the financial year 2024.[47]

Head office

Laurus Office Building B, Wizz Air headquarters

Since March 2015, Wizz Air's head office has been in Laurus Offices (Laurus Irodaház), Building B, Budapest.[48][49] Previously headquartered at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport,[50][51] Wizz Air signed the Laurus lease in October 2010 and moved there with 150 employees in June 2011. The airline occupied over 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of space in an office building refurbished after the airline's arrival. The facility, with open-plan offices, housed about 150 employees.[50] Before the time its head office was at the airport, it was in the Airport Business Park C2 in Vecsés, close to the airport.[52]

Operations

Wizz Air Airbus A320-200 wearing the company's former livery
Wizz Air Airbus A320-200 wearing the company's new livery

As is common with European low-cost carriers, Wizz Air prefers operating out of smaller or secondary airports to reduce costs and fees. It also has a buy-on-board food service called Wizz Café, and a service called Wizz Boutique for other items.[53]

On 8 June 2022, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with European aircraft manufacturer Airbus to work on the development of hydrogen-powered aircraft.[54]

Subsidiaries

WizzAir Airbus A321 in company's new livery landed at Brest airport, Belarus
Cabin of a Wizz Air Airbus A320-200
Current subsidiaries
Former subsidiaries

Destinations

Main article: List of Wizz Air destinations

Countries served by Wizz Air as of February 2024[65][66]

Wizz Air started new services between Katowice and London Luton in 2008.[67] In January 2008, flights started from Gdansk to Gothenburg, Bournemouth and Coventry. In summer 2008, Wizz Air restarted summer seasonal services from Katowice and Budapest to Girona, as well as a new weekly service to Girona from Gdańsk. Other summer services from Budapest are Heraklion, Corfu, Burgas and Varna; from Katowice to Crete-Heraklion and Burgas; and Warsaw to Corfu and Burgas. It also restarted its three-times-weekly service from London–Luton to Burgas. On 2 October 2008, Wizz Air announced that a number of its Romanian services would have increased frequency following an order for three Airbus A320 aircraft.[68]

In February 2012, Wizz Air announced that it would start flights from Debrecen International Airport to London, beginning 18 June 2012.[69] On 11 September 2012, Wizz Air announced new routes to and from Tel Aviv, Israel.[70]

On 12 April 2013, Wizz Air announced that it would start flights from Budapest Airport to Baku's Heydar Aliyev International Airport starting from 17 June 2013.[71] On 26 June 2013, Wizz Air announced entry into the Slovakian market, adding one new route from Košice International Airport starting from September 2013.[72]

In October 2013 Wizz Air launched flights to Dubai from Bucharest, Budapest, Kyiv and Sofia.[73]

On 26 June 2015, the airline opened its 19th base at Tuzla International Airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina and deployed one new Airbus A320 aircraft at the airport. With one aircraft stationed at the airport, Wizz Air opened new routes to Memmingen Airport (near Munich) and Sandefjord Airport, Torp (near Oslo), commencing on 26 June 2015, as well as to Frankfurt–Hahn Airport and Stockholm Skavsta Airport, commencing on 28 June 2015.[74]

In February 2016, Wizz Air announced a new base at David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport (serving Kutaisi in Georgia).[75] In October 2016 Wizz Air announced a new base at Chișinău International Airport (serving Chișinău) in Moldova.[76] In December 2016, Wizz Air announced a new base in Varna, Bulgaria.[77]

In February 2017, Wizz Air announced a new base at London Luton Airport in the United Kingdom.[78] Also in 2017, the company added three new routes, to Tel Aviv, Israel; Pristina, Kosovo; and Kutaisi, Georgia, for a total of over 500 routes.[79]

In January 2018, Wizz Air announced a new base at Vienna International Airport in Austria. Three Airbus 320/321 are planned to be based in Vienna and the company will operate a total of 17 new routes from the Austrian capital.[80]

In November 2018, the airline announced it would open a base at Kraków John Paul II International Airport in Poland, starting with 12 routes.[81]

In May 2021, Wizz Air announced the termination of all its domestic routes in Norway, which had been operating for less than a year.[citation needed]

In March 2022, Wizz Air announced that it will commence scheduled flights to the city of Hambantota, Sri Lanka from Abu Dhabi, UAE. [82]

At the end of 2022, the airline launched new destinations to Tashkent and Samarkand (Uzbekistan).[83][84]

On 6 April 2023, the airline announced that it will commence scheduled flights from the soon-to-be-inaugurated Brașov-Ghimbav Airport in Romania to London Luton Airport and Dortmund Airport in August and September 2023 respectively.[85]

Fleet

Wizz Air Group fleet size[86]
Wizz Air Airbus A321neo
Wizz Air Cargo A330-200F

As of January 2024, Wizz Air and its subsidiaries operate the following aircraft:[87][88]

Wizz Air fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
Airbus A320-200 40[87] 180 To be gradually phased out and replaced by the A320Neo.[89]
186
Airbus A320neo 6[87] 13[88] 186[90] All operated by Wizz Air Malta.
Airbus A321-200 41[87] 230
Airbus A321neo 111[87] 277[88] 239[91] Largest operator.[88]
Deliveries until 2029.[92]
Airbus A321XLR 47[91][93] 239[91] Deliveries from 2024[94] to 2029.[95]
Wizz Air cargo fleet
Airbus A330-200F 1[87] Cargo HA-LHU
Total 199 337

Environmental protection

In November 2019, Wizz Air dismissed concerns about its part in environmental damage raised by the "flight shame" movement, basing its response on the airline's per-passenger emission level. The company said it would reduce per capita emissions by an additional 30 percent by 2030. Wizz Air also condemned inefficient airlines such as Lufthansa that offered business class and used outdated technologies, which according to Wizz Air cause far more environmental damage.[96][97]

In May 2022, they announced that they are aiming to switch from fossil fuels to hydrogen propulsion within 10-15 years as part of a pilot project with Airbus. The need for this ongoing transition has been explained not only by direct environmental and technological considerations, but also by business reasons, saying that over time both passengers and investors will increasingly expect airlines to operate in a more environmentally friendly way.[34][98]

In November 2022, Wizz Air signed an agreement with Austrian energy company OMV to purchase nearly 185,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from 2023 to 2030. SAF produced from sustainable feedstocks, such as edible oil and green hydrogen, could be a key element in the aviation industry's goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that SAF could contribute around 65 percent to the aviation sector's net zero emissions reduction target by 2050.[99]

The cooperation with OMV under the SAF contract provides Wizz Air with the opportunity to move forward with its strategy to continuously reduce its carbon intensity per passenger-kilometre and reduce its carbon intensity by a further 25 percent by 2030 and to eliminate its carbon emissions completely by 2050.[100] The Wizz Air-OMV agreement demonstrates the airline's commitment to ensuring that its passengers choose the most environmentally responsible way of flying by choosing to fly with Wizz Air.[101]

A few days before the SAF contract was signed, Wizz Air won the Global Environmental Sustainability Airline Group of the Year.[102] The award was presented for the first time by CAPA (Centre for Aviation) at the Asia Aviation Summit and Sustainability Expo 2022 in Singapore. CAPA, a member of the Aviation Week Network, is one of the world's most trusted sources of market information for the aviation and tourism industries. In addition to global recognition, Wizz Air also won the Sustainable Airline of the Year Award in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.[103] The citation stated that Wizz Air was among the top performing airlines in most categories, according to CAPA's Environmental Sustainability Airline Performance Assessment Report 2021 and 2022.[104]

In May 2023, Wizz Air has announced that it will provide a significant amount of funding to support research by CleanJoule, a US company developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). A total of $50 million has been invested in the green start-up by the Indigo Partners consortium, which includes Wizz Air, GenZero of Singapore, CleanHill Partners of the US, Frontier Airlines and Mexican airline Volaris. The funding will support the development of CleanJoule's technology, which aims to produce high-performance sustainable fuels from agricultural residues and other waste biomass in a more cost-effective way.[105]

Incidents

On 8 June 2013, Wizz Air Flight 3141, an Airbus A320-232 (registration HA-LWM) from Bucharest Henri Coandă Airport, Romania to Rome-Ciampino, Italy, made an emergency landing[106] at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport when the crew encountered problems lowering one of the main undercarriages and locking it into position. The aircraft diverted to Fiumicino because of the longer runway, and firefighters applied foam after landing as a precautionary measure. The aircraft was evacuated using slides.[107] Initial reports of injured passengers were denied by both Wizz Air and Rome Fiumicino Airport, who said some passengers requested medical checkups but reported no injuries.[108]

Employee relations

Wizz Air has faced criticism and legal issues due to its strong opposition to employee unionization.[109] Wizz Air has claimed to allow its employees to be organized in assemblies.[citation needed]

See also

References

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