Wizz Air has just announced that it will be axing 1,000 jobs due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Central Europe’s largest low-cost airline said that it was making 19% of its workforce redundant following a 97% fall in operations.
In the short term, the Budapest-based carrier has said that it will also be furloughing many of its employees as it continues to battle the downturn in business brought on by the coronavirus crisis. Together with the redundancies and temporary furloughs, Wizz Air has said that it will be cutting the salaries of its pilots, cabin crew, and office staff by 14% for the rest of 2020. Along with this, all senior officers, executives, and directors will see their remuneration cut by 22%.
Wizz Air is operating at 3% of its capacity
This latest news came just after Wizz Air announced that it is currently operating at 3% of its previous capacity. Its latest passenger numbers now equate to a loss of just over $75 million between March and May.
In the announcement carried by the Daily Mirror, Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi said:
“First and foremost, I would like to thank our people for their tremendous support to passengers and communities across all countries during these unprecedented times.
“They have risen to the challenges facing Wizz Air and the industry with grace and determination, especially when it comes to performing repatriation flights for citizens stranded by COVID-19 across the world and delivering key medical supplies to help our countries, communities of caregivers and their patients.”
Before the coronavirus outbreak, Wizz Air was one of the star performers in the low-cost European arena, opening up new routes and even trying to succeed with flights from Luton to Russia, despite having seen easyJet fail.
Wizz Air will still take delivery of 15 new aircraft
Armed with a large reserve of cash, Wizz Air is looking at the coronavirus as nothing more than a bump in the road. The all-Airbus airline is still planning to start a budget airline joint venture with a partner in Abu Dhabi this fall.
Operating one of the youngest fleets of any major European airline, Wizz Air, unlike some of its competitors, is not thinking about delaying or canceling orders for new aircraft. While being committed to the 15 new Airbus aircraft it is due to receive this year, the Hungarian airline has said it will return 32 of its oldest aircraft as their leases expire in a move to trim costs and remain efficient.
Poised to take advantage of any rebound that may come about once the coronavirus emergency has passed and social distancing is a long-forgotten memory, Wizz Air is in a nice position to pick up routes from airlines that were not able to weather the storm.
Wizz Air is against state aid
“Most European airlines have been badly mismanaged when it comes to liquidity,” he said from Wizz’s headquarters in Budapest. “Now they’re all begging for state support. Governments should only be stepping in areas of employment and reducing charges such as air-navigation costs.”
We certainly think that Wizz Air will come fast off the blocks once the current crisis has passed and will continue its aggressive growth strategy. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments section.