Low cost carrier Wizz Air reported a full year net profit of EUR€246 million (USD$276.2 million), a 27.5 percent increase on last year.
The airline, which styles itself as number one in central and eastern Europe, grew its revenue by almost 10 percent to €1.57 billion, as it increased capacity and carried more passengers. Operating profit came in at €246.7 million, up a more modest 4.8 percent.
Operating expenses for the year to end March were up 11 percent to €1.32 billion as staff and airport costs rose. Fuel costs, in comparison, were down 6.6 percent as hedging offset increased flying hours and the weaker euro. Aircraft rental saw a 33 percent rise to €233.9 million as the airline added 12 aircraft during the year.
Wizz carried 23.8 million passengers, a 19 percent increase on the previous financial year. RPK traffic jumped 22.2 percent on an ASK capacity increase of 19.7 percent, leading to a 1.9 percentage point lift in load factor to 90.1 percent.
Yield dropped 8.5 percent to 3.75 euro cents as Wizz adjusted fares to compete with other airlines that added capacity in reaction to lower fuel costs. CASK was also down, 7.8 percent to 3.15 cents, mainly due to the lower fuel costs.
Chief executive József Váradi said the low fare trading environment and increasing fuel prices “unquestionably favoured our ultra-low-cost business model and we were able to increase our growth rate, strengthen our number one position in CEE and also maintain one of the highest profit margins of any European carrier.
“Growth will continue as a top priority for us and we plan to increase capacity by around 23 percent and carry nearly 30 million passengers in FY2018.”
The airline said that despite Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, it saw no signs of demand weakness on UK routes. The financial impact for Brexit it put at €17 million for the year.
Wizz Air ended the year with a fleet of 79 aircraft, with a mix of Airbus A320s and A321s. It said it would continue to shift the balance of its fleet towards the larger A321 and during the year ordered 110 A321neos, to be delivered between 2019 and 2024.