Wizz Air today said it expected to see further losses in the next year unless Covid restrictions are permanently lifted, after posting an annual net loss of €576m.
The budget airline’s revenue also plunged more than 73 per cent to €739m because of travel restrictions across Europe.
Passenger numbers fell by three-quarters to ten million and the company warned that it does not expect full capacity to return until at least 2023.
Wizz Air carried 833,000 passengers in May, compared to 126,000 in the same month in 2020 when the pandemic kicked in.
The airline’s underlying full-year loss excluding fuel hedging deficits was €482m.
Following the annual results, shares in Wizz Air plunged 1.2 per cent as markets opened.
‘One of aviation’s most challenging years’
József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air, described the last 12 months as “one of the most challenging years for the aviation industry”.
“Whereas the recovery pattern continues to be difficult to forecast, the trends are encouraging and we are ready as ever.
“We have prepared the company to be an even more formidable player and to take advantage of the next phase of market opportunities that await post pandemic.”
Throughout the pandemic the budget airline has been held up as one of the aviation industry’s few relative success stories, but today’s update sees it join fellow carriers easyJet and Ryanair in racking up a hefty loss.
The Hungarian carrier said it still had more than £1.6bn in cash, having taken several steps to shore up its finances over the last quarter.
“Wizz Air, the jaunty low-cost challenger couldn’t escape the gut-wrenching turbulence the pandemic has caused for the airline industry,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“High hopes that brighter skies were in sight for the airlines have been clouded by fresh strains of Covid emerging in parts of the world.”