Wizz Air cuts 19% of workforce but remains confident in cash reserves

Published: 15 April 2020 - 5 a.m.

Wizz Air, which is due to debut in the Middle East this year, has reduced its workforce by 19% amid a near 100% drop in capacity.

But the European airline said it is well-placed to weather the Covid-19 crisis and has a “strong” balance sheet to help see it through.

The carrier laid off 1,000 members of staff, according to a company release, while other employees have been furloughed.

Wizz Air’s CEO, board of directors and senior officers will all see a 22% cut, while pilots, cabin crew and office staff will have pay reduced by 14%.

During March, year-on-year traffic was down by 34% for Wizz Air and it is currently operating at just 3% of its pre-Covid-19 capacity. For Q4, the carrier expects to see losses of between €70 million and €80 million.

Despite these projections, the carrier has assured that it has a strong balance sheet. At the end of March, the company had €1.5 billion in cash reserves. The carrier also expects to uphold its target of 15% annual growth.

Wizz Air is due to launch its first operations in the Middle East this year, becoming the latest low-cost airline in and increasingly competitive region.

Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi said: “We have taken various initiatives to protect the position of the company in a controlled manner during the COVID-19 pandemic and are reviewing the competitiveness and allocation of the assets of the company.

“We are also working to further improve our strategic, cost and cash position in the aftermath of this crisis to ensure we can deliver our long-term growth target.

“Wizz Air undoubtedly remains best placed for long-term value creation in the European aviation industry due to its low fare–low-cost business model and unique positioning as the market leader in the growing CEE market.”

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