Wizz Air Reports Surge in Passenger Traffic in December, Extending Year-Long Trend

Wizz Air (WIZZ.L), the largest low-cost airline in central and eastern Europe, reported an 18% year-on-year surge in passenger numbers in December early on Thursday, extending a trend seen in earlier months of 2018.

The increase in traffic came as the carrier announced 14 new routes to and from the UK, Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania in December, according to a trading update. It also disclosed in the month a base expansion in Bulgaria, with a second aircraft to be deployed in the country’s second-largest city, Varna, from the summer of 2019, which will also see the firm’s Luton, UK-based fleet being grown by two airplanes to 11.

As of December 30, the Budapest, Hungary-based Wizz Air also reported an increase in capacity to 2.99 million seats, from 2.57 million seats a year ago. This comes as the carrier announced a fleet expansion in the month with the delivery of an Airbus A321, taking Wizz Air’s current fleet to 106 aircraft.

Consequently, Wizz Air said its load factor, which measures how much of an airline’s passenger or cargo carrying capacity is used, also climbed to 88.8% in December, from 87.5% a year earlier.

On a rolling 12-month basis, the airline operator’s passenger traffic and capacity were up by just under a fifth, the trading update added.