Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air said off and on-again COVID-19 restrictions will limit the travel industry’s recovery and make it bumpy, and make financial guidance for the current year unavailable.
“I think this is going to become more of a rollercoaster,” Wizz’s chief executive József Váradi said when asked about the shape of the recovery on Wednesday.
Wizz, whose main focus is eastern Europe but which is expanding its presence in western Europe, said the uncertainty meant it could not provide profit guidance, but it hoped to be operating at about 70%-80% capacity over the rest of 2020.
The airline said it was ready to be flexible in changing routes where restrictions are brought in and that its strong cash balance of 1.6 billion euros (1.45 billion pounds) meant that it would not need to raise new funds to survive the crisis.
Wizz was one of the first airlines to resume flights in May after coronavirus lockdowns in many European countries were ended or eased.
By the end of June it was flying about 70% of its capacity, putting its recovery ahead of larger competitor airlines. Across Europe, air traffic is running at about 40% of last year’s level.
For its first quarter, the three months to 30 June, Wizz posted underlying EBITDA of 8.9 million euros, down 95% compared to last year, and swung to a net underlying loss of 57 million.
Váradi said people wanted to fly but uncertainty around government-imposed restrictions, “and the unpredictable nature of that,” was hindering the recovery.
Shares in Wizz traded up 3.9% at 3,525 pence at 0713 GMT.