Wizz Air ‘parks planes’ to allay cash squeeze

Britain’s second-biggest airline has warned it may have to “park planes” to preserve cash as the Covid crisis wreaks havoc on the industry during the leaner winter months.  

Wizz Air also said if ongoing travel restrictions are continue over the next three months, it will continue to fly at 60pc capacity rather than the 80pc previously guided.

Despite the downgrade, the FTSE 250 airline, which specialises in low-cost flights to eastern and central Europe, repeated an assertion that it will be a “structural winner” from the Covid crisis.

Despite industry criticism, the Government has continued to reintroduce a quarantine on arrivals from countries that are experiencing an increase in infection rates.

Restrictions imposed across Europe, and on Hungary in particular, sparked Tuesday’s warning.

Hungary has closed its borders to all overseas travellers to keep Covid infection rates under control.

Wizz said: “Further capacity reductions remain a possibility and as a result, Wizz Air may park parts of its fleet throughout the winter season to protect its cash balance.”

Airline stocks rank among the hardest hit as a result of the pandemic. Wizz, however, has fared comparatively better than the likes of IAG, the owner of British Airways, and low-cost peer easyJet. 

The travel industry is waiting for an update from ministers on a potential reintroduction of quarantine rules for Portugal – just two weeks after they were removed.

Willie Walsh, the outgoing boss of IAG, added his voice to frustration aired by Gatwick chief Stewart Wingate last week over Boris Johnson’s administration’s turning restrictions on and off.

Mr Walsh lamented “ever-changing” quarantine requirements that have led to the UK hanging a “closed sign” over its borders.

Mr Wingate said last week: “A laser-like focus from the Government on how we make the travel corridors more stable such that when we open them up that they remain open.

“The uncertainty created by turning them on and off erodes consumer confidence. To build confidence that if you do go away, you can get back without quarantining.”

More Stories
Covid Lockdown UK: Boris Johnson to unveil new ‘take the next step safely’ slogan on Monday