Passenger demand in the UK has surged following the recent easing of travel restrictions, Wizz Air’s chief executive Jozsef Varadi has said.
“We are seeing a very strong reaction on the demand side due to the UK Government’s decision to ease restrictions,” Varadi told investors this morning following the release of the airline’s third quarter results. “There is a very clear correlation between the level of restrictions imposed on travel versus market demand.
“What we are seeing in the UK today is what we are going to be seeing in continental Europe in the next four to six week, [i.e.] restrictions easing correspond to robust demand coming up.”
Varadi’s comments follow Wizz Air’s results from this morning, when the airline reported €267.5m worth of losses as a result of Covid-induced travel disruption and the expansion of its workforce and fleet.
The carrier spent €155.3m on airport, en route and handling costs, while staffing expenses went up 85.7 per cent to €61.8m.
“We continued our investment in recruitment and training, bringing in more than 1,500 talented people since the start of last summer,” Varadi said commenting the results.
“In January 2022 we counted already 5,550 employees, surpassing our pre-pandemic number of colleagues, in support of our growth ambitions.”
In the three months ended 31 December, demand was also disrupted after European governments decided to tighten travel restrictions as a result of Omicron.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant and renewed travel restrictions impacted our trading performance late in the quarter and we expect demand in January, February and part of March to be impacted by ongoing travel uncertainty,” Varadi continued.
“As such, Wizz Air anticipates the operating loss for the fourth quarter of F22 to be slightly higher than the operating loss of €213.6 million for the previous one.”