Why The Airbus A321neo Is At The Center Of Wizz Air UK’s Sustainability Strategy

Wizz Air UK has been making significant strides over the last year. The carrier announced a series of base launches and inaugurated notable new routes. With this momentum, the  Airbus A321neo joined the fold. Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, recently spoke with Simple Flying about why this narrowbody is central to her company’s wider strategy.

There is excellent potential with the Airbus A321neo. Photo: Airbus

A company-wide mission

Wizz Air has ambitious targets when it comes to sustainability. For instance, it wants to reduce its carbon emissions by 25% until 2030 compared to 2019 levels.

The airline has introduced several initiatives with its fleet to meet these goals. It has gotten rid of paper in the cockpit in favor of tablet utilization. This move saves more than 25,000 pages being printed in each plane. The carrier also washes its aircraft every six months, which contributes to up to 0.5% in fuel savings due to less drag. Additionally, the airline is introducing lighter seats and single-engine taxiing after landing.

Wizz Air Airbus A321neo
The wider Wizz Air company is expecting 200 Airbus A321neos to arrive at its facilities in the coming years. Photo: Getty Images.

Leading the front

Altogether, these are just some of the numerous measures in place to meet Wizz Air UK’s targets. Nonetheless, these actions all revolve around the aircraft that it flies. With hundreds of A321neos on order, the type is a focal part of the sustainability approach.

Wizz Air UK’s first Airbus A321neo arrived at its facilities in March 2021 in the form of registration G-WUKM. This plane’s first flight was from London Luton to Poland’s Poznań–Ławica Henryk Wieniawsk Airport.

The aircraft was then joined by two additional units that month before another entered the fleet in May. These units hold PW1133G-JM engines that transport up to 239 passengers across the airline’s network. Previously known as the Geared Turbofan (GTF), the PW1000G series can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 50% and fuel burn by 16%.

Wizz highlights the savings to be had when it comes to fuel. For instance, compared to the A321ceo, the neo will bring up to 20% fuel cost savings. Additionally, the plane brings a reduction in noise by approximately 50%.

Wizz Air UK’s A321neos are joined by three A320-200s and seven A321ceos. Photo: Wizz Air

The number one pillar

The A321’s technological advancements are prevalent throughout the aircraft. The plane’s airframe, equipment, and seat weight are all lighter, with the passenger also benefiting from modern comfort for a narrowbody.

Geoffroy shares:

“It’s not just about the passengers on board, it’s about the the local communities, especially around the airports. It’s crazy to compare two aircraft taking off when one of them is an A321neo and another one will be an older generation aircraft. The difference is huge in terms of the noise. We need to have the best technology, we need to have the best product, we need to have the best fleet to ensure that the airports can continue to support us and we can continue to support them by bringing connectivity in a sustainable way.”

The A321neo may not be the only pillar in its sustainability strategy. However, It’s right at the forefront due to its long-term advantages.

Geoffroy explains:

“It’s the number one pillar of our sustainability strategy. Because of the fleet we operate today, and the fleet will be operating next year, and the fleet will be operating in 10 years from now because we’re we have placed orders. We are operating a fleet, which in average is 5.08 years old, and in Europe, the average age is 10 years old. Next year, we will decrease five years. If, tomorrow, all the European airlines would be operating the same technology as us, as a group, are operating at Wizz, the CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer will be reduced from one day to the other by 34%.”

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Geoffroy adds that Wizz Air UK has a great balance of destinations, but the product remains the same. It’s cheap, convenient, and yet the passengers fly on what the company expresses is one of the most sustainable aircraft in service today. Geoffroy concludes that her firm’s brand new A321neos are “so silent, comfortable, and very appealing to our customers.”

The Airbus A321neo has a maximum range of 7,400 km (4,000 NM), and the Wizz Air Group took on its first overall unit in May 2019. Photo: Airbus

Across the industry

These sentiments follow similar statements across the Wizz Air family. Chief Commercial Officer of the Wizz Air Group, George Michalopoulos, told Simple Flying earlier this year that the new technology of the A321neo’s P&W engines are more efficient and have lower fuel consumption. This factor combines with the fact that the airline can fit 239 seats on board, which he noted, is over 20% more than rival Ryanair can fit on its 737 MAX aircraft.

Other airlines flying the UK also appreciate the A321neo’s economics, such as easyJet and British Airways. However, Ryanair, which has bases at 13 airports in the country, sees value in sticking with Boeing and its modern narrowbody solution.

Wizz Air UK has been expanding rapidly across its network. For example, it opened a second base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, another location at London Gatwick, and a fourth site at Cardiff Airport. The operator also flew its first domestic operation in June.

These motives match Wizz Air’s wider ambitions. The Hungarian business has been growing its presence all across Europe and beyond this year. The A321neo will remain integral to these broader operations this decade. This factor is backed by the arrival of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, which launched flights with the type at the turn of the year.

Overall, Wizz feels that the specifications of the A321neo make it a gamechanger for an ultra-low-cost carrier. Every single saving can go a long way for a ULCC, and the airline is looking to replicate this trend on an environmental level.

What are your thoughts about Wizz Air UK’s Airbus A321neo aircraft? Are you looking forward to flying on the type with the airline soon? Let us know what you think of the plane and its operations in the comment section.