Big Plans: Wizz Air Looks To Operate 170 Aircraft This Summer

Throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Hungarian ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air has pursued more growth than many airlines. As it looks to the future, it has significant fleet expansion plans in place, which will begin to be seen this year. Aiming for a strong recovery in 2022, it plans to have 170 busy, active jets at its disposal this summer.

Wizz Air Getty
Wizz Air expects that its 170 aircraft will be full in the summer months. Photo: Getty Images

Summer growth ahead

Over the last two years, Wizz Air has faced the same coronavirus-induced difficulties as all airlines worldwide. However, its approach has largely differed, with the Hungarian carrier continuing to pursue the expansionist strategy that it employed before the onset of the health crisis. This has seen it, among other things, become Italy’s third-largest airline.

With just over 130 aircraft in its present fleet, Wizz has a significant geographical and operational footprint. This has been underlined by its launch of a UAE-based subsidiary in Abu Dhabi. However, it isn’t stopping there, and has big fleet plans for 2022. Speaking last month at the World Aviation Festival in London, its President, Robert Carey, stated that:

When [people] have lots of time to travel, especially in vacation and summer periods, they’re going to want to travel. At this point expect to be fully back [to normal], with 170 aircraft, next summer. That’s [over] 50% more than what we had [in terms of] pre-COVID capacity. And we expect that capacity to be able to fly with full planes.”

Wizz Air
Wizz Air is confident in people’s desire to travel. Photo: Getty Images

Which aircraft might come in?

To meet its target of a 170-aircraft fleet this summer, current data suggests that Wizz Air will need to receive nearly 40 new planes. Of course, this is a drop in the ocean compared to its wider plans. Indeed, as Simple Flying reported last August, it has ambitions to up its fleet size by 500 aircraft in the next decade, hiring 800 flight attendants in the process.

According to data from ch-aviation.com, Wizz Air has an impressive 330 aircraft on order. Of these, 34 are Airbus A320neos, with the remaining 296 being aircraft from the A321neo series. 47 of these are examples of the A321XLR, which is yet to make its first test flight. As such, it will look to top its fleet up to the planned 170 aircraft with A320neos and A321neos.

Wizz Air Airbus A321neo
Wizz Air has nearly 300 Airbus A321neo series jets on order. Photo: Airbus

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Aiming to bring average fleet age down

A useful side effect of Wizz Air’s new arrivals will be a drop in the average age of the aircraft that make up its fleet. It already has one of the youngest in Europe, but it plans for this to drop even further. Carey explains that “the average age of the fleet we are operating today is five years. But, for the middle of the decade, so 2025, the figure’s going to be at three years. And that will offer us 20-25% lower fuel consumption than the classics that our competitors use.”

What do you make of Wizz Air’s summer plans? Will you be flying on one of its purple-clad jets this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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