Wizz Air CEO: “a third of our network is brand-new”
“We’ve taken 30 new deliveries in the last few months,” József Váradi, Wizz Air’s CEO, told the 30th ACI Europe annual congress on 17 November.
This has been instrumental in modernising its fleet during the pandemic, one of two things that Váradi says Wizz Air has done differently to the rest of the industry.
The second is “significant” diversification of Wizz Air’s network on top of most of its existing network, which “has been very difficult to do”.
It’s not hard to see why. “A third of our new network is brand-new”.
This involved opening 13 new operating bases in the past few months for a total of 39.
“We moved around 30 aircraft by opening new bases in various geographies. We moved people with that, showing it how much it requires flexibility.”
Wizz Air; a scattergun approach? Margins strong, Váradi insists
Various commentators have said that Wizz Air has taken a scattergun approach to its network development, an accusation that could be levelled at most fast-growing operators.
“We’re the lowest-cost producer in the industry [in Europe], so our entry barrier for a new route is the lowest,” Váradi said.
“Margin-wise, our new network has performed exactly the same as the old network”. It benefited greatly from operating 80% of its planned capacity in August versus 2019, although W20 will be around 20%.
Varadi was clear about Wizz Air’s positioning and action during coronavirus. “Our strategy has been to deal with the issues as they happen on the day, day by day, but to continue to invest in our future.”
“The industry’s in desperate mode, life is dire straits and will be dire straits for years. But from a business standpoint, coronavirus is an opportunity to position Wizz Air versus the industry to come out as a much stronger player, a much more formidable competing force.”