Wizz Air has set out further cost-saving measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including making nearly one fifth of its workforce redundant.
It comes after the budget carrier on Tuesday (14 April) revealed it is currently operating at just 3% of its pre-coronavirus capacity.
The carrier’s chief executive, Jozsef Varadi, its board of directors and senior officers, will meanwhile take a 22% pay cut. Pilots, cabin crew and office staff salaries will be reduced by 14%.
Other savings include furloughing staff, and shedding more than 30 older, leased aircraft over the next three years.
Wizz has opted to recognise the initial impacts of the global pandemic in its 2019/20 full-year results (FY20), with the budget carrier expecting to post underlying net profit for the year to 31 March of €350-€355 million, in line with its guidance from January when it upgraded its full-year profit forecast.
However, with March traffic down more than a third year-on-year and the carrier currently operating little more than a skeletal schedule, Wizz has opted to recognise a €70-€80 million hit for the months of March, April and May – resulting from the effects of Covid-19 – in its 2019/20 figures, rather than carry over the impact into its full-year 2021 balance sheet (FY21).
As a result, Wizz now expects to post statutory net profit of €270-€280 million for FY20. In a trading update, issued on Tuesday (14 April), Wizz declined to offer guidance for FY21 but detailed cash reserves of €1.5 billion as of the end of March.
"In the short term, the company continues to actively adjust capacity to market conditions and is reviewing aircraft allocation on a market-by-market basis as opportunities arise," said Wizz.
"As markets normalise, Wizz Air fully expects to maintain its plans to grow capacity by an average of 15% annually. Furthermore, the company confirms the launch of operations of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is progressing in line with the initial timeline."
Wizz will, however, enact further cost-saving measures to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. These include gradually returning 32 older leased aircraft by the end of March 2023 as these leases expire.
In addition, Wizz will make 1,000 roles redundant, representing 19% of its workforce. "Additional employee furlough measures have also been, and will be, taken in the short-term as necessitated by the travel restrictions due the Covid-19 pandemic," said the airline.
Varadi said he wanted to thank Wizz staff for their efforts to support passengers during "unprecedented times", adding they had risen to the challenge "with grace and determination" particularly when it has come to operating repatriation flights and delivering medical supplies.