Wizz Air Warns Recovery Could Stall Due To Travel Restrictions
Wizz Air has warned that its recovery could stall as COVID-19 warnings and restrictions hamper travel across Europe, but said that Britain's quarantine rules had not led to it reconsidering its long-term expansion plans there.
The low-cost airline, which has been one of the fastest airlines to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, is currently flying at 80% of last year's capacity.
However, ticket data shows that Europe's travel recovery began to stall in August after a stronger performance in July, and Wizz said that 80% capacity was as high as it could go under current circumstances, and that capacity might fall again.
"From here on, either you're going to be able to hold the line or somewhat come down on capacity," CEO Jozsef Varadi told Reuters.
Since the pandemic struck, Wizz has stuck to its expansion plans, announcing ten new bases in the last three months, but Varadi conceded, "we are not immune from the short term issues".
Gatwick Airport Plans
Looking ahead, Wizz's ambition is to build a 20 plane base at London's Gatwick Airport, and Britain's 14-day quarantine rules have not changed that.
"For the time being, the UK is manageable," Varadi said, explaining that Wizz has adjusted its capacity, shifting some flights away from Croatia to Portugal, which was taken off of the quarantine list.
Wizz's Gatwick plans, however, depend on the European Union dropping a COVID-19-related waiver that allows airlines to keep landing slots without running a minimum number of flights.
While most airlines are pushing for the waiver to be extended, Wizz wants it scrapped, helping it to expand at Gatwick if rivals are forced to give up slots.