Wizz Air Holdings F23 Q1 results – ramping up for record summer flying

posted on 27th July 2022 by Eddie Saunders
Wizz Air Holdings F23 Q1 results - ramping up for record summer flying

Wizz Air Holdings Plc today issues unaudited results for the three months to 30 June 2022 (“first quarter” or “Q1”) for the Company.

Three months to 30 June 2022 2021  

Change

Passengers 12,182,156 2,954,274 312.4%
Revenue (€ million) 808.8 199.0 306.4%
EBITDA (€ million) (154.4) (17.8) 766.6%
EBITDA margin (%) (19.1) (9.0) -10.1ppt
Operating loss for the period (€ million) (284.5) (108.6) 162.0%
Reported loss for the period (€ million) (452.5) (114.4) 295.5%
RASK (€ cent) 3.46 2.69 28.6%
Ex-Fuel CASK (€ cent) 2.62 3.57 (26.6)%
Fuel CASK (€ cent) 2.18 0.86 153.5%
Total Cash (€ million) 1,583.2 1,378.8* 14.8%
Load factor (%) 84.7 63.6 +21.1ppt
Period-end fleet size 157 141 11.3%
Period-end seat count 14,390,508 4,645,853 209.7%

* Total Cash balance as at March 31, 2022. Total cash comprises cash and cash equivalents, short-term cash deposits and restricted cash.

József Váradi, Wizz Air Chief Executive commented on the results: During the first quarter of F23 we continued to ramp-up Wizz Air as COVID-19 transitioned from a pandemic to an endemic setting.

“Passengers and revenue more than quadrupled versus the same quarter last year, up almost 20% versus pre-pandemic levels, with 30% more capacity operated.

“Whilst we are rebuilding the airline with greater scale we remain very conscious of the challenging macroeconomic and operational backdrop.

“Fuel prices for the quarter were double pre-pandemic levels. Lingering restrictions from COVID-19 remained, particularly during April and May, while the war in Ukraine and supply chain disruptions affecting air traffic control, security and ground operation resources have impacted our utilisation.

“As a result, unit costs (CASK) for the quarter were around 40% higher versus pre-pandemic, 75% of this increase was driven by commodity inflation, whilst unit revenues (RASK) for the quarter were 10% below pre-pandemic levels, predominantly a function of lower load factors as we ramped up the operation and as the Ukraine war dented our momentum.

“Our operating loss for the quarter was 285m EUR, whilst our net reported loss of 453m EUR was impacted by the strength of the USD causing a non-cash, unrealized FX impact in the income statement. Our liquidity strengthened significantly in the quarter to 1.6 billion EUR as we grew our business.

“During Q1 F23 we invested to re-establish our proven pre-pandemic operating model, defined by our ultra-low cost principles.

“We are seeing the results of this investment already through Q2 and we expect to deliver a material operating profit as revenue and pricing momentum continue to improve.”

Commenting on further business developments during the period, Mr Váradi added: “During the quarter we focused on ramping up our network – restoring capacity in our core markets just below pre-pandemic levels.

“Around 30% of our new capacity was deployed in markets where we expanded new operations during COVID-19 (e.g. Italy, Albania, Abu Dhabi, new bases in UK and West-Balkans).

“We’ve now adjusted our network in view of the industry supply chain disruptions, making tactical capacity reductions from June onwards to increase the agility of our operation and supply chain.”

On the summer and the outlook, Mr Váradi said: “By now we have the largest part of the summer ramp-up behind us and expect to operate around 30% higher ASKs in the summer compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“We expect continued month-on-month momentum in net total fares and loads through the summer as we work to maximize RASK – given the higher input costs – and we expect RASK in the second quarter to improve +10% versus F20.

“We are encouragingly starting to see normalization of operational disruption levels as we have lowered utilization by circa five per cent for the summer versus F20, still operating industry-leading utilization.

“We continue to be a leader on cost and sustainability. Our ex-Fuel CASK cost structure will continue to improve sequentially, our fleet renewal continued with an average aircraft seat count of 214 seats.

“Our emission levels for the summer are expected to be almost 10% lower versus F20 summer (measured in CO2 grams per RPK), as we continue to make strong progress towards our 2030 goal of 43g per RPK, a 25% reduction versus F20.”

FINANCIAL RESULTS IN Q1

  • Total revenue amounted to €808.8 million, an increase of 306.4% versus Q1 F22:
    • Ticket revenues increased by 349.6% to €392.0 million.
    • Ancillary revenues increased by 272.6% to €416.8 million.
    • Total unit revenue increased by 28.7% to 3.46 euro cents per available seat kilometre (ASK).
    • Ancillary revenue per passenger decreased by 9.0% versus F22 to €34.2, however, versus F20 it was still a 13.8% increase (up €4.1 per passenger). The increase in ancillary revenue per passenger versus F20 is driven by dynamic pricing on bundles, seats and bags as well as continuous demand for our flexibility products.
    • Ticket revenue per passenger increased by 9.0% versus F22 to €32.2, while compared to F20 it was tracking lower by 12.0% (down €4.4 per passenger). The lower ticket revenue per passenger versus F20 was driven by softer demand amidst lingering restrictions from COVID-19 (particularly during April and May), the war in Ukraine and concerns around supply chain disruptions.
  • Total operating cost increased 255.3% to €1,093.3 million versus Q1 F22:
    • Total unit costs increased by 8.3% to 4.80 euro cents per ASK, driven by significantly higher fuel unit costs
    • Fuel unit costs increased by 153.5% to 2.18 euro cents per ASK.
    • Ex-fuel unit costs decreased by 26.6% to 2.62 euro cents per ASK, driven by the much improved utilisation of our aircraft assets, resulting in lower unit cost of depreciation.
  • The statutory loss for the period was €452.5 million.
  • Total cash at the end of June 2022 increased to €1,583.2 million, including €153.2 million restricted cash.

NETWORK ADDITIONS
Base rationalization
• Doncaster, United Kingdom: one aircraft

New bases:
• Cardiff, United Kingdom: one aircraft
• Venice, Italy: two aircraft

Base aircraft additions
• London Gatwick, United Kingdom: four additional aircraft, taking the base to five aircraft
• London Luton, United Kingdom: one additional aircraft, taking the base to eleven aircraft
• Rome, Italy: one additional aircraft, taking the base to five aircraft
• Catania, Italy: one additional aircraft, taking the base to three aircraft
• Tirana, Albania: two additional aircraft, taking the base to eight aircraft
• Katowice, Poland: two additional aircraft, taking the base to six aircraft
• Warsaw, Poland: one additional aircraft, taking the base to eight aircraft
• Gdansk, Poland: one additional aircraft, taking the base to seven aircraft
• Budapest, Hungary: one additional aircraft, taking the base to twelve aircraft
• Cluj, Romania: one additional aircraft, taking the base to seven aircraft
• Craiova, Romania: one additional aircraft, taking the base to two aircraft
• Larnaca, Cyprus: one additional aircraft, taking the base to two aircraft

In addition to announcing new routes across its European network, Wizz Air also announced launching of new routes to Dammam, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from Rome, Vienna and Abu Dhabi.

FLEET UPDATE
Fleet expansion to 157 aircraft with the addition of eight new A321neo aircraft in the quarter. Out of the eight new A321neo aircraft, two were financed with Sale and Leaseback transactions, while six used JOLCO transactions. At the same time, we returned four end-of-lease A320ceo aircraft to lessors, which increased the average seats per aircraft to 214 seats. Wizz Air’s average aircraft age is 4.9 years, one of the youngest fleets of any major airline. For the balance of F23 we expect 36 new A321neo aircraft deliveries, while 11 A320ceo aircraft will reach the end of lease and will exit the fleet.

SUSTAINABILITY UPDATE
• Wizz Air has been recognized as a leading airline in sustainable travel, improving its sustainability ratings over the past years. Underpinning its commitment to sustainability and highlighting the main reasons why it is the greenest choice for flying, Wizz Air launched, at the beginning of 2022, the ‘Fly the Greenest’ campaign and on 27 June, Wizz Air has been recognised as the „Most Sustainable Low-Cost Airline” within the World Finance Sustainability Awards 2022, announced in this year’s summer issue of World Finance magazine. World Finance praised Wizz Air’s continued commitment to sustainability, specifically its ambitious fleet renewal programme and other fuel-saving initiatives.
• In June, Wizz Air released its annual sustainability report for F22, including its TCFD disclosure with an enhanced climate risk analysis, and reported the company’s greenhouse gas emissions for Scope 1,2 and 3 the first time comprehensively. As a key step in recognizing the impact of indirect emissions, the company implemented a Sustainable Procurement Policy in April.
• On 28 June, Wizz Air operated its first green demonstration flight between Bucharest and Lyon on the occasion of the European Commission’s “Connecting Europe Days 2022” sustainable mobility conference. Brought to the next level through the Airbus A321neo aircraft, a staple in durable aviation, the green demonstration operations using partly sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) were a pivotal moment for Wizz Air. During the demonstration operations, Wizz Air took 4.5 tonnes of a SAF fuel blend, consisting of 30% pure SAF and 70% Jet A1 fuel. This helped Wizz Air also achieve the currently lowest possible emissions per passenger kilometre in Europe out of the airlines taking part in this sustainable effort.
• Wizz Air is in favour of the recently approved directions in the EU institutions’ positions on the Fit for 55 climate package. The European Parliament (EP) and the Council of the European Union (Council) have proposed elements that we have also been advocating in order to achieve a level playing field:
o RefuelEU Aviation: The EP proposed to include a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) flexibility mechanism, which would help airlines meet the SAF blending mandates when operating in regions with limited (or zero) possibilities to purchase SAF at a favourable price. Council proposed a Sustainable Aviation Fund to support innovation, in which this mechanism would be included.
o Emissions Trading System (ETS) Aviation proposal: The EP proposed to extend the scope to all flights departing the EEA and to create SAF allowances to address price differential.
• Wizz Air’s CO2 emissions per passenger/km amounted to 59.6 grams per passenger/km for the rolling 12 months to 30 June 2022 with significant improvement for Wizz Air this year, contributing to our CO2/RPK levels consistently reaching pre-pandemic levels.

CHANGES TO THE MANAGEMENT TEAM
In April 2022 Alexandra Avadanei was promoted to the position of Revenue Officer. Alexandra joined Wizz Air as a cabin attendant in January 2009 and since then held a number of senior management roles.

In July 2022, Yvonne Moynihan joined Wizz Air as Corporate Officer. In her previous role Yvonne was the General Counsel and Board Secretary at Vueling Airlines based in Barcelona. Prior to it, she worked for Ryanair as Legal Counsel for five years, based in Dublin.

In July 2022, Owain Jones was appointed to the position of Development Officer. Owain joined Wizz Air as General Counsel in September 2010 and has served as Chief Corporate Officer, Managing Director Wizz Air UK and Chief Supply Chain and Legal Officer.

With these new appointments we are further enhancing our leadership capacity as we continue to demonstrate outstanding agility in the pursuit of being the ultimate structural cost winner in the industry.