Wizz Air Reverses COVID-19 Related Pilot Pay Cuts

European budget airline Wizz Air will become one of the first to reverse the temporary pay cuts imposed on its pilots through the COVID crisis. From October 1st, pilots will be back on their pre-pandemic pay. Wizz is also looking to hire 200 additional pilots and 800 cabin crew by the end of the year, and could be on the verge of a large order with Airbus.

Wizz Air, green list, extra seats
Wizz is putting pilots back on pre-COVID salaries. Photo: Wizz Air

Wizz pilots back on pre-pandemic salaries

Wizz Air is starting to feel the effects of a recovery in European aviation. While continuing to grow and add new destinations and bases, the airline has announced today that it will reverse the pay cuts made for its pilots at the start of the pandemic, putting them back on pre-COVID salaries.

As of October 1st, all Wizz Air pilots will be back on the same pay grade they enjoyed before the pandemic hit. Wizz says this makes the airline one of the first in the world to end the temporary pay cuts imposed on pilots at the start of the crisis, and signals a renewed confidence in profitability.

In addition to putting existing pilots back where they should be in terms of earnings, the airline is keenly looking to expand its pool of qualified aviators. Wizz said today that it intends to recruit 200 additional pilots by December 2021. This is in addition to the 800 new cabin crew members it plans to recruit by the end of the year also.

Wizz Air crew
The airline is recruiting 800 new cabin crew members by the end of the year. Photo: Wizz Air

Wizz has been keenly eyeing strategies for continued growth, including reportedly making an offer to take over easyJet. While that offer was turned down, the airline is still setting its sights on the future, with rumors of a large Airbus order in the coming weeks.

Reuters reports that the airline has been discussing a new deal with Airbus for months. Talks continued over the summer, but neither party is ready to announce a new deal yet. Any order would be at least 100 aircraft, adding to the 388 firm order total already in place by the airline.

Thousands of jobs per year

Over the next decade, Wizz remains strongly committed to expanding and creating jobs in the industry. By 2031, it wants to triple the size of its existing fleet, with a goal to fly 500 Airbus aircraft before ten years is out. This, it says, will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs, with the airline looking to recruit around 2,000 personnel every year going forward.

The airline previously said it wanted to hire 4,600 pilots by 2030. Adding to this, Wizz will recruit thousands of flight attendants, ground crew and other personnel to facilitate its rapid expansion.

Mike Delehant, Executive Vice President and Chief Group Operations Officer, commented on the recruitment drive, saying,

“There is no doubt the past year has been challenging for the industry, but we are proud to announce today that we are one of the first airlines to reinstate pilot salaries to pre-pandemic levels. We thank each and every one of our staff for the continued commitment, hard work and resilience they have shown since March 2020. As we continue to focus on sustainable growth, we look forward to welcoming thousands of new recruits in the coming years, to join our growing family.”

Eager applicants can visit the Wizz Air website for more information on the positions available and instructions on how to apply.

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