Wizz Air Holdings plc (Hungarian: Wizz Air Hungary Légiközlekedési Kft.) is a Hungarian low-cost airline with its head office on the property of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest. The airline typically uses secondary airports serving many cities across Europe, and Egypt, Israel, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. It has the largest fleet of any Hungarian airline, although it is not a flag carrier, and currently serves 35 countries. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.
The airline was established in September 2003. The lead investor is Indigo Partners, an American private equity firm specialising in transportation investments. The first flight was made from Katowice International Airport on 19 May 2004.
The airline’s CEO and chairman is József Váradi, former CEO of Malév Hungarian Airlines. The company is registered in Pest County (Hungary)with operating subsidiaries in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. Wizz Air Bulgaria was established in September 2005.
In 2011, Wizz Air carried 11 million passengers (15% more than in 2010), including 4.2 million passengers on Polish routes (only 2% more than in 2010). Recently Wizz opened new bases in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia. However, Poland is still the largest market for Wizz Air.
On 4 October 2012, Wizz Air launched a new cabin bag policy to encourage customers to bring smaller baggage on-board following a successful month-long trial on the London Luton and Katowice route. This means that a smaller (42x32x25cm) cabin bag can be taken on board for free; larger cabin bags (56x45x25cm) would incur a fee varying between €10 or €30.
In 2014, Wizz Air carried 15,8 million passengers (17% more than in 2013).
Wizz Air prefers to land at smaller or secondary airports to reduce costs and fees. The airline also has a buy on board service called Wizz Café and a shopping service called Wizz Boutique.
Wizz Air has its Headquarters in Building 221 of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest. Wizz Air signed the lease agreement in October 2010 and moved there in June 2011. The airline occupies over 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of space in an office building refurbished after the airline’s arrival. The facility, with open plan offices, houses about 150 employees. Previously, its head office was in the Airport Business Park C2 in Vecsés, close to the airport.
While attempting to hasten SkyEurope’s demise in June 2009, Wizz Air claimed it had been “profitable for several years”. However, as a private company it is not required to publish its financial accounts – annual reports are still available. In November 2009, it emerged that Wizz Air was significantly loss-making and had never made a profit while delaying the pay-back of €32 million of debt by five years. Losses since commencing operations total €78 million, which, in 2009, fueled suggestions that the airline would file for bankruptcy. Since then Wizz Air reported record profits in 2012, profits in 2013 and record profits in 2014. Wizz Air has the second lowest CASK (cost per available seat km) among European airlines.
According to the Hungarian weekly magazine Figyelő, Wizz Air ranks as the 42nd company in Hungary in revenues in 2010. Wizz Air posted sales of HUF165 billion in 2010, which was an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.
On 25 February 2015 Wizz Air started trading on London Stock Exchange.
Wizz Air operates from 20 bases as of March 2015, the latest addition to them being Tuzla Airport.
Wizz Air started new services between Katowice and London Gatwick in 2008. In January 2008, flights started from Gdansk to Gothenburg, Bournemouth and Coventry. In summer 2008, Wizz Air restarted the summer only services from Katowice and Budapest to Girona, as well as a new weekly service to Girona from Gdańsk. Other summer services from Budapest are Heraklion, Corfu, Burgas and Varna, from Katowice to Crete-Heraklion and Burgas, Warsaw to Corfu and Burgas. They also restarted the three-times weekly service from London Luton to Burgas. On 2 October 2008, Wizz Air announced that a number of its Romania services would have increased frequency following an order for three Airbus A320 aircraft.
In February 2012, Wizz Air announced that it would start flights from Debrecen International Airport to London, beginning 18 June 2012. On 11 September 2012, Wizz Air announced new routes to and from Tel Aviv, Israel.
The Airbus A320 family consists of short- to medium-range, narrow-body, commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners manufactured by Airbus. The family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, as well as the ACJ business jet. The A320s are also named A320ceo (current engine option) after the introduction of the A320neo.