Wizz Air to cut summer flight schedule amid travel chaos
Low cost European carrier Wizz Air has said it will cut its peak summer flight programme due to travel chaos at airports.
The Hungarian airline, which flies from Cardiff Airport to Portugal, Greece, Spain and Egypt, said it would trim its capacity by another 5% as part of efforts to avoid flight cancellations and delays.
Mounting disruption in the sector has been caused by staffing shortages at airports, with operations struggling to match soaring demand from holidaymakers now that Covid restrictions have been lifted.
The threat of strikes across Europe by airline employees and pilots is adding to the woes.
Heathrow warned separately on Monday that it would ask airlines to cancel more flights this summer if it does not believe previous schedule reductions will sufficiently reduce disruption.
Carriers were ordered by the UK Government and the Civil Aviation Authority last month to make sure their timetables were “deliverable” after the sector was unable to cope with demand during the Platinum Jubilee half-term school holiday.
Heathrow admitted services levels have “not been acceptable”, with passengers suffering long check-in and security queues and problems with baggage handling on top of flight delays and cancellations.
Wizz Air said: “To be able to avoid cancellations and secure a more punctual operation to our customers, we have further improved the agility and resilience of our network including adjusting schedules where we have seen a higher occurrence of issues… In total for the peak summer period we expect to reduce utilisation a further 5% versus the plan outlined at the full year results to reduce the impact of ongoing external disruptions.”
Despite this, Wizz Air said it was set for a boost in demand over the summer and is forecasting a “material” operating profit in its July to September quarter.
This comes after it reported an operating loss of 285 million euros (£241 million) in its first quarter due to rising fuel costs and a strengthening US dollar.
Wizz Air, which also has UK bases in Gatwick, Luton and Doncaster, started flights from Cardiff in April and put on sale just over 200,000 seats for its inaugural summer season in Wales, with the airport hopeful of achieving around 75% capacity.
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