European low cost carrier Wizz Air reported a 25 percent increase in first half profit and raised its profit guidance for the full year.
The Budapest based airline made a EUR€288.6 million (USD$335 million) net profit in the six months to end September, from €231.6 million in 1H16. Revenue jumped 24.8 percent to €1.15 billion as ticket and ancillary revenue showed strong growth, particularly over the peak summer travel months.
Chief executive József Váradi said the first half was “ahead of expectations with robust trading across all of our markets.”
Wizz Air carried 15.62 million passengers during the period, a 25 percent lift on last year as it added 57 new routes. It now flies over 550 routes from 28 bases in 43 countries, and added seven aircraft to its fleet in H1 bringing the total to 86.
The route expansion saw ASK capacity increase by 24.0 percent, and with RPK passenger traffic up by 26.5 percent, load factor rose 1.7 percentage points to 92.8 percent.
Expansion also added to the airline’s expenses, with fuel costs rising 26.8 percent, and staff costs up 26.9 percent. Total operating expenses came in at €844.9 million, from the previous year’s €670 million.
For the full year Wizz estimates it will grow ASK capacity by about 23 percent and keep its non-fuel costs broadly flat. Including fuel, cost per available seat km (CASK) is expected to rise by 1 percent. Its forecast for revenue per available seat km (RASK) is for a slight increase.