Wizz Air cuts growth targets after axing flights to Russia and Ukraine

posted on 7th March 2022 by Eddie Saunders
Wizz Air cuts growth targets after axing flights to Russia and Ukraine

By Simon Hunt, standard.co.uk

Wizz Air has slashed its growth target after stopping the sale of flights to and from Russia and Ukraine as war between the two countries rages.

Wizz Air said it was extending a temporary pause into a full cancellation of services to and from the countries. Flights to Moldova will be diverted to Romania until the end of May.

It follows a decision by the company to pause flights to Ukraine and Russia on Wednesday after the closure of airspace.

The Hungarian budget airline today revised down its projected growth in seat capacity in 2023 from 52% to 30%.

Wizz air CEO József Váradi said: “In this very concerning situation we have been focused on helping our colleagues and their families in Ukraine, to move to places of safety.”

The airline committed to redeploying evacuated Ukrainian staff to other European bases.

Shares in airlines have plummeted since news broke of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, amid flight cancellations and air space restrictions in the region. Wizz Air shares have dropped 39% in the past two weeks.

Shares in Wizz Air fell 9% in early trading today, while EasyJet’s shares sunk 8% and Ryanair dropped 6%.

Wizz Air is the only EU carrier to have a base in Ukraine, having announced a new base at Lviv in May 2020. The company’s four aircraft stationed in Ukraine will be withdrawn pending a “safe evacuation window” for them.

It previously operated 45 routes out of Ukraine, and was the second largest budget airline in the country with a 27% market share, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.

The company projected an increased fourth quarter loss compared with the third quarter, subject to their ability to recover assets from Ukraine.

Wizz Air has offered free flights from border countries for up to 100,000 Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. It has set up an employee solidarity fund to assist Ukrainian staff and their families and support their evacuation.