Wizz Air, outlook, Ryanair, 2019, low-cost, airline, finance, profit, costs, A321, aircraft, type, Airbus, fleet, oil price, fuel, staff, unit costs, Varadi, speech, József Váradi, Berlin, CAPA, fuel, young, market, environment, customer
Photo: Wizz Air

Wizz Air CEO praises secret weapon

Speaking at a recent conference in Berlin, Wizz chief József Váradi credited a “critically important” competitive advantage.

Backed by the capital of Indigo Partners, the Phoenix-based champions of ‘ultra-low-cost carriers’ that last week reached out to Iceland’s WOW air, Wizz Air is continuing to grow strongly out of Central Europe.

Wizz chief executive József Váradi credits the A321neo for the airline’s competitive cost base, Forbes reports, as he stressed when speaking at the CAPA World Outlook conference in Berlin at the end of November.

“A few years ago, few believed that Ryanair’s cost base could be matched by anyone. I am pleased to tell you that Wizz Air is delivering that cost base,” he told the gathering.

“As a matter of fact, Ryanair’s cost base is creeping and our cost is under control, so it is only a matter of time before Wizz Air will become the ultimate cost leader in the European airline industry.”

Speaking about his all-Airbus narrowbody fleet, Váradi said that these planes have a “critically important” competitive advantage.

“In our view, the A321neo is the game-changer aircraft and it is the aircraft that we are [focusing on]. The A321 is the most efficient narrowbody aircraft today and will probably continue to be in the next few years,” he said.

“When you look at the A320 classic, the A321 classic is a 10% lower cost reduction and the A321neo is a 20% lower cost reduction.”

The carrier aims to increase its fleet to 300 planes over the next decade, with most of the new additions being A321neos.

At the moment, Wizz has around 40% of its seats on the A321, which will grow over 70% in the next five years, Forbes writes. This will be especially important as the carrier, like all other airlines, fights down fuel costs.

Young audience
Váradi thinks this aircraft type’s environmental advantages appeal to the carrier’s younger customer base.

“It produces the lowest fuel burn, in terms of carbon and noise. I think sustainability and the impact on nature will become an increasing issue going forward. The new generation of consumers are much more responsible with regard to the environment than previous generations.”

Wizz Air is in this way exploiting an untapped market, creating a new generation of customers. Váradi expects its passenger numbers to double over the next ten years, to reach 100 million.

Related stories

Wizz Air investor backs Wow Air

Wizz Air slashes forecast as fuel costs soar

Nordic routes to upcoming city-break destination