Wizz Air upgrades forecasts despite higher fuel costs

Wizz Air said a supportive market had helped it fly through rising fuel costs and increase net profit guidance for the financial year.

The airline, which focuses on flights to central and eastern Europe, had previously forecast net profit would reach between 320 million and 350 million euros (£275 million to £300 million). It narrowed the range on Wednesday, increasing the lower estimate to 335 million euros (£287 million).

It came despite a 1.8% rise in the average cost of jet fuel over the period. However a boom in passenger and flight numbers – the former increased by 18% – meant that the company spent 25% more on fuel overall, a total of 436 million euros (£374 million).

Yet the carrier’s net profit margin – the difference between revenue and costs – rose by 2.5 percentage points to 30.5%.

“We are particularly pleased to report expanding net profit margin while delivering industry-leading growth rates in an operating environment of higher fuel prices,” said chief executive Jozsef Varadi.

He added: “Wizz Air is the lowest cost producer in the industry in Europe and the largest airline in the growing CEE market, making us a long-term structural winner in the aviation sector.”

The boss also touted the company’s green credentials. A young fleet, short-haul flights, and fully laden planes meant that per passenger, and per kilometre travelled, the company has carbon emissions of 58.5 grams.

“Not content with being Europe’s lowest-cost airline, Wizz Air is also proud to be Europe’s greenest airline,” Mr Varadi said.

However, rival Ryanair faced pushback earlier this year when it made similar claims about its green credentials. The Advertising Standards Agency is considering whether to open an investigation into the issue after getting several complaints.

EU data from April shows that Ryanair was one of the top 10 biggest polluters in the bloc last year, behind nine coal power stations.