European budget airline Wizz Air is helping to deliver 11 tons of medical equipment from China to Hungary as part of efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. The shipment includes protective gear and test kits. Wizz Air answered the call of the Hungarian Government and stepped in to help with transporting the vital supplies with an A321neo.
“It’s an honour and privilege that the government of Hungary chose Wizz Air to complete this crucial mission of delivering protective equipment and medical test kits from China in its vital effort to contain the coronavirus. In these tough times, we are doing everything we can to play our part in the fight against the outbreak. I would like to express my gratitude to all the government officials and my colleagues at Wizz Air who took part in this special mission, working tirelessly to gain the required permits and bringing home the equipment so efficiently.” -József Váradi, CEO, Wizz Air
According to Wizz Air’s emailed press release, the flight originated in Shanghai (China) and had Budapest (Hungary) for its final destination. The flight, loaded with medical supplies, took off from Shanghai on Monday, following a request from the Hungarian Government.
The Wizz Air flight traveled a total one-way distance of 9,000km, taking over 50 hours to complete the journey. As the A321neo’s fully-loaded-range is listed as only 7,400km, refueling stops were necessary. These were done in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) and Irkutsk (Russia).
The return flight from Shanghai (via Nur-Sultan and Irkutsk) landed safely this morning. Thank you to the four pilots and our team for completing this relief mission. We will continue doing our absolute best to support communities in need in the coming months. #StrongerTogether https://t.co/1g5sB5igRt pic.twitter.com/YUij4Nm47r
— Wizz Air (@wizzair) March 23, 2020
The press release goes on to say that the Hungarian government is planning further flights in partnership with Wizz Air to “deliver medical equipment to Hungary to help treat patients and slow down the spread of coronavirus”.
The A321neo’s role in the Wizz Air fleet
In a press release from Wizz Air’s Q3 F20 results, József Váradi said:
“We believe that the company is uniquely positioned for long term value creation. We will continue to enhance our market-leading positions with the roll out of the game-changing, attractively priced and financed A321neo aircraft which will enable Wizz Air to continue widening our cost advantage over our competitors, providing passengers with the reassurance that they are making the right choice to fly with Wizz Air as we have the lowest impact on the environment of any airline.”
The benefit of the A321 is that it has the seat capacity advantage over some of its fellow low-cost carriers. Wizz Air recognizes that fact with the aircraft capable of transporting 230 passengers at full capacity. Assuming the flight is full, this would offer more operating efficiencies over Ryanair’s 189 seats on its 737-800 aircraft, which the airline operates exclusively.
According to FlightRadar24.com, the airline has 41 A321ceos and eight A321neos.
The pandemic’s impact on Wizz Air
Of course, Wizz Air won’t be realizing these advantages anytime soon as the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the aviation sector. Travel bans for countries around Europe have driven down the airline’s passenger traffic.
The travel restrictions around Europe are extensive. So far we’ve managed to report on a few shutdowns relevant to Wizz Air including suspensions in Georgia and Albania, as well as Poland and Montenegro.
At a time like this, it’s important for commercial airlines to do what they can to assist the national governments of their respective countries. As China is a key manufacturer of medical supplies, countries around the world will depend on vital air links to get the necessary equipment from the country.
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