Budget airline Wizz Air has revealed record underlying profits as it prepares to expand in the post-coronavirus market.
The Budapest-based carrier made an underlying net profit of €344.8 million in the year to 31 March. The figure excludes the impact of fuel hedge losses of €63.7 million resulting from Covid-19 in the latter part of the year.
Passenger numbers grew from 34.6 million to 40 million on an average load factor of 93.6%. Revenue rose by 19% to €2.76 billion and net margins grew 4.7 points to 10.2%.
Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air’s chief executive said: “During the 2020 financial year, Wizz Air once again outperformed the market with an industry-leading passenger growth rate of 16%.
“Our ancillary revenue growth of 31% was outstanding and now makes up 45% of total revenues. The continuous rollout of the game-changing A321neo aircraft ensures that we remain Europe’s undisputed airline cost leader.”
Wizz Air has just announced a dozen new routes from Luton to beach destinations and will this year launch Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. An order for 20 Airbus A321XLR could give it transatlantic capability from the UK from 2023.
Last year, Wizz launched 98 new routes and now serves 155 destinations in 45 countries with more than 121 aircraft.
Varadi added the airline had €1.5 billion in cash, giving it “one of the strongest balance sheets of any European airline” and planned new bases in Albania, Cyprus, Italy and Ukraine this year “with more exciting developments to come”.
The airline plans to have women in a third of its senior management positions and making up a quarter of its pilots in the next decade.