Wizz Air passenger numbers rise 22 per cent in May as airline plans ambitious expansion

Rebecca Smith
Last month, Wizz Air said it hadn't suffered Brexit turbulence
Last month, Wizz Air said it hadn't suffered Brexit turbulence (Source: Getty)

Wizz Air has announced soaring passenger traffic for last month, sending shares edging higher after last month's spike.

The Central and Eastern European-focused budget carrier gave investors cause for confidence when it unveiled full-year results last month and has kept its flying progress ongoing with today's news that passenger numbers were up 22.2 per cent to just over 2.4m for last month. Load factor, which assesses how full planes are, edged up to 91.1 per cent from 90.1 per cent.

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At the time of writing, shares had crept up 0.79 per cent to 2,297p. That followed a surge in the airline's shares off the back of its full-year results in May, when they rose nearly 12 per cent to Wizz Air's highest since it listed in London in 2015.

Investec analyst Alex Paterson said he was encouraged by the progress made by the airline and felt "there are potential areas for outperformance due to restructuring by competing carriers, notably Alitalia".

Paterson added that Wizz's operating unit cost structure is very competitive and he believed the cost of fleet ownership will fall.

Last month, Wizz Air unveiled bumper growth plans despite tricky conditions for last year, saying net profit rose 28 per cent to €246m in the year to 31 March. It plans to carry nearly 30m passengers for 2017-18. For 2016-2017 it carried 23.8m.

Despite concerns over Brexit troubles for airlines, Wizz Air said demand for travel to and from the UK had remained resilient since the EU referendum vote last June.

The airline is continuing to expand its network, having bolstered its base in Belgrade. It is opening a UK base at London Luton airport later this month, with chief executive Jozsef Varadi saying the announcement "underlines Wizz Air's commitment to the UK".

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