Wizz Air cuts 5 pct capacity over summer period to reduce disruptions

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Wizz Air Holdings Plc is cutting 5 percent of its capacity over the peak summer travel period to reduce the impact of a staffing crisis that’s plaguing the industry.

The low-cost carrier’s reductions, announced in a statement Monday, will add to travel disruptions across Europe after companies including British Airways, KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG scrapped flights as demand bounced back from two years of COVID-related restrictions.

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Wizz said it expects to post a “material operational profit” in the quarter ending September following a surge in ticket prices. The carrier’s load factors as of July were over 90 percent, and it expects higher fleet utilization to help improve costs, it said.

Shares fell as much as 4.6 percent in early London trading. The stock has declined about 58 percent this year.

“This is smaller than the schedule cuts we have seen at many other airlines, which makes sense: Wizz is less exposed to the most congested airports where problems are greatest, Alex Irving and Clementine Flinois, anaysts at Bernstein,” said in a note to clients Monday.

Still, lower-than-expected fares in the first quarter “is a question management will need to address,” they wrote.

Wizz said it will report an operating loss of 285 million euros ($289 million) for the quarter ended June due to unrealized foreign-exchange losses, disruptions and lower utilization. Analysts had expected the carrier to report a 187 million euro operating loss. Wizz is due to report earnings July 27.

The carrier, which focuses in Eastern Europe, has also been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With reduced demand for flights to the region, Wizz has redeployed capacity elsewhere in Europe.

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