Budget airline Wizz Air downgrades profit guidance as higher fuel prices bite

Alexandra Rogers
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Wizz Air said its low-cost business model gave it a competitive advantage over rivals (Source: Getty)

Budget carrier Wizz Air has downgraded its full-year profit guidance by 21 per cent due a surge in fuel bills of $80m (£70m).

The figures

Wizz Air's previous profit guidance was in the region of €310m-€340m but the airline now expects to make between €270m-€300m.

In the six months to 30 September, Wizz Air carried 18.8m passengers, up 20 per on the same period the previous year, when it carried 15.6m passengers.

Revenue also saw a 20 per cent increase, from €1.34bn in 2017 to €1.4bn this year.

Shares were up nearly 3.5 per cent at the time of writing.

Why it's interesting

Wizz Air is not the only airline to have been hit by higher fuel prices. Rival Ryanair also cut its profit forecast in October, while EasyJet said the forecast for revenues per seat for the six months to March is negative.

Danish airline Primera Air also cited higher fuel costs as a factor leading to its collapse in October.

What Wizz Air said:

Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi said: "Our ultra-low cost business model provides a significant competitive advantage in an environment of higher fuel prices. As Wizz Air continues to drive its cost base even lower and profitably stimulate traffic, this advantage allows us to capture an even greater share of our market and extend our reach. We anticipate the capacity rationalisation resulting from this increased pressure on our competitors will result in a better yield environment.

"The operating environment in the first half was particularly challenging for all European airlines with unprecedented disruptions caused by ATC strikes, slot constraints as well as heavily congested airports. These conditions also coincided with the company’s ramp up of our new UK airline, Wizz Air UK, and an extensive delivery program of 17 aircraft in 17 weeks. Our operations are now back on track with October and November key performance indicators ahead of last year."