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Flying high… ish.

Budget airline Wizz Air has reported a 104 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the final three months of 2016 but cut its full-year forecasts on the back of “unusually” severe winter weather in its key markets.

The Central and Eastern Europe-focused airline said pre-tax profits in the last quarter of the the year hit €33.1m, jumping from €16.2m in the same period in 2015, while passenger numbers rose by a fifth to 5.7m.

Still, it also lowered its full year underlying net profit guidance to between €225m-€235m from a previous range of €245m-€255m, having already chopped UK growth forecasts in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June.

“The current environment of very low fares and increasing fuel prices presents excellent trading conditions for Wizz Air to continue securing its market leadership position while maintaining industry leading profitability”, said chief executive Jozsef Varadi.

But Mr Varadi warned bad weather conditions in central and eastern Europe this winter would hit full-year profits.

Amid concern that low-cost airlines will be hit by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, Wizz Air said it was “not clear in practice” what the Brexit vote would mean for the company.

The falling value of sterling against the euro has made travel to the continent more expensive for UK customers since June, with Wizz Air adding its business remained “susceptible to the strength of the British pound”.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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