Wizz Air announces redundancies, cuts salaries, does not renew old lease contracts

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On 14 April, the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air announced it was reducing its workforce by 19%, also cutting salaries and not renewing contracts for many leased aircraft.

Wizz Air is to make 1,000 employees redundant, cut salaries by 22% for major positions and senior staff, and by 14% for pilots, cabin crew and office staff.

Thirty-two leased aircraft will be returned by the end of 2023 when their contracts expire.

The airline said it owned €1.5 billion at the end of March 2020. Analysts from Citi said to Reuters they forecasted that “Ryanair and Wizz Air will be the only major European carriers to avoid refinancing”.

The airline CEO Jozsef Varadi told Reuters that he believed the market for air travel would start growing again in 2022.

“If we take 2019 as a baseline, I would guess that 2022 is going to be a bigger year than 2019 so we would have two years of transition,” he said in a telephone interview.

“We would basically be blocking a third of the seats in our aeroplanes, so a 180-seater would become a 120-seater, and the 230-seater would become more like 160-seater,” Varadi added. “These are the things that we are looking at right now.”

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