Wizz Air’s most profitable airports revealed using RDC’s Apex platform
Wizz Air’s top-10 most profitable airports had an estimated €321 million in profit in the year to March 2020, RDC Aviation’s Apex shows.
And they had three-quarters of the carrier’s total seats.
This analysis follows our look at Ryanair’s most profitable airports and easyJet’s.
Wizz Air achieved an average profit margin of 16% across these 10, lower than Ryanair’s 19.4% for its top-10 but greater than easyJet’s 12.8%. Perhaps because of core airports used, easyJet experienced far less margin variation, with Ryanair the most – and Wizz Air in-between.
Luton was Wizz Air’s top airport by both profit and seats. It had 41% of Luton’s capacity, OAG data reveals, up from 32% in 2015.
In 2020, Wizz Air introduced 14 routes from Luton to Greece, Spain, and Portugal. This is part of Wizz Air’s continuing network ‘redevelopment’.
Vienna and Dortmund were both in the carrier’s top-10 list for size – but not for profits. We explore Vienna below, while Dortmund became a new base this year.
Cluj punches above weight for Wizz Air: ninth for size, third for profit
Cluj-Napoca punches above its weight by both total profitability (almost €30.8 million) and a very strong profit margin (20.2%).
It has benefited from having no competition on nearly all of its routes as well as competitive airport charges.
Cluj turned its ninth position for size into number-three for profitability. This is especially notable given it had half as many seats as Bucharest, reaffirming the importance of monopoly routes and low costs.
Wizz Air had 37 routes from Cluj in 2019, up from 17 in 2010 and 22 in 2015.
Venice started earlier in 2020 but will be back from December. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi is expected to take off in November (replacing Dubai Al Maktoum).
Tel Aviv had Wizz Air’s highest margin and profit per pax
Tel Aviv was sixth by profitability (€27.7 million) – more than double its position for size.
This is partly from a much higher average fare, the result of its Tel Aviv sector length being 2,153 kilometres – one-third greater than the carrier’s system-wide average.
The airline benefits from limited non-stop competition on many routes, and some markets even have limited indirect connectivity.
Wizz Air’s Tel Aviv profit margin (almost 20.6%) and profit per passenger (€21) were both the highest across its top-10 airports.
Its profit per passenger was four times as great as Budapest, for example.
Wizz Air began Tel Aviv in 2012 and it had 17 routes in the analysed year. Budapest, Bucharest, Vienna, Luton, and Warsaw were its top routes. Milan Malpensa is coming in December.
Romania was Wizz Air’s most profitable country
Only two Romanian airports were in Wizz Air’s most profitable list. However, the country was the ULCC’s most profitable, with an estimated €123.6 million.
This is despite the country being the airline’s third-largest, after Poland and the UK.
Romania’s profitability was followed by Poland (€97.2 million), the UK (€70.7 million), Italy (€62.0 million), and Spain (€40.5 million). Only a million seats separated the two Central and Eastern European countries.
Aside from the enduring popularity of Italy and Spain, it is no wonder that Wizz Air’s Western European push has revolved around these two countries in particular. It now has two bases at Malpensa and Catania.
Wizz Air had 159 routes from Romania and almost 10 million seats
Wizz Air’s average fare was one-quarter higher from Romania (€76) than from Poland (€61).
This was because its Romania average sector length was one-quarter longer than from Poland: 1,487 kilometres versus 1,185.
Wizz Air was also significantly more dominant in Romania (41% share of country seats) than Poland (23%).
But Wizz Air’s Romania cost per passenger was just one-fifth higher, resulting in a stronger country profit margin.
The airline had 159 routes from Romania in this year period. These involved 62 destinations from 10 airports. Bacau – a new airport and base for Wizz Air – is coming in W20.
Luton, Milan Bergamo, Rome Ciampino, Dortmund, and Paris Beauvais were its top destinations from the country. The UK and Italy were joint-top, followed by Spain, Germany, and France. The importance of VFR demand is clear.
Bucharest to Luton was its number-one route, followed by Cluj – Luton, and Bucharest to Bergamo, Ciampino, and Venice Treviso. At 404 kilometres, Targu Mures to Budapest was its shortest route.
Wizz Air’s Romania seats were just 112,000 short of 10 million last year – up by a CAGR of 14.3% since 2010.
Austria was Wizz Air’s biggest loss-making country
Austria was by far Wizz Air’s most unprofitable country, with a nearly €15 million loss. It is all because of Vienna.
The airline’s second Austrian airport, Salzburg, started in 2020; it now has eight routes including to Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for VFR demand.
Wizz Air began serving Vienna in 2018. It very quickly grew to 2.4 million seats – resulting in it becoming the carrier’s sixth-largest airport.
Vienna is very likely to be of strategic importance to Wizz Air.
In 2019, its network from the Austrian capital comprised 24 countries, with Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Israel, and Poland top.
It had 43 routes (now 60), led by Rome Fiumicino, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Malpensa, and Warsaw. It had nearly 2.5 times as many seats to Western Europe as to CEE.
Wizz Air’s very fast growth from Vienna meant its average fare was just €57, against an estimated cost of €63 per passenger.
It will be very interesting to see how its Vienna base evolves in the future to achieve sustainable profitability.
RDC provides world-leading aviation data through its online apps, data services and APIs. Its Apex platform delivers airline route performance data (fares, profit, schedules, costs, CO2) while AirportCharges has detailed tariff data for over 3,000 airports as well as global en route navigation fees and government taxes. Over 250 companies subscribe to RDC’s services; visit their website, www.rdcaviation.com, to find more information and contact details.