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Wednesday airline news: Wizz Air cuts 1,000 staff

written by Dylan Nicholson | April 15, 2020

Wizz Air, central Europe’s largest low-cost airline, will cut 1,000 staff as it continues to struggle as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The business will also be furloughing more employees as well as slashing the salaries of its pilots, cabin crew and office staff by 14 per cent for the rest of 2020. Along with this, all senior officers, executives and directors will see their remuneration cut by 22 per cent.

The airline has seen its capacity and operations fall to just 3 per cent with the low passenger number equating to a $75 million loss for the company.

A Wizz Air Airbus A320-232 (Clément Alloing)

Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi said, “First and foremost, I would like to thank our people for their tremendous support to passengers and communities across all countries during these unprecedented times.

“They have risen to the challenges facing Wizz Air and the industry with grace and determination, especially when it comes to performing repatriation flights for citizens stranded by COVID-19 across the world and delivering key medical supplies to help our countries, communities of caregivers and their patients.”

Váradi has also been very vocal about his desire not to see governments help out struggling airlines, telling Bloomberg, “Most European airlines have been badly mismanaged when it comes to liquidity. Now they’re all begging for state support. Governments should only be stepping in areas of employment and reducing charges such as air-navigation costs.”

In other airline news:

  • Virgin Australia was put into a trading halt at 9:30am AEST on Tuesday.  The trading halt will continue until the opening of the ASX on Thursday morning or an announcement, whichever comes earlier.
  • South African airways as been denied additional support from the SA government.
  • Delta Airlines has acquired a cancelled LATAM order for 10 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft to the tune of $3 billion.
  • The Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, said today that TAP Air Portugal could be nationalised in the coming days.
  • Qatar Airways has announced that it has signed an $850 million financing deal with Standard Chartered. The deal concerns seven of the airline’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, providing immediate cash flow.
  • The date for when Turkish Airlines will resume its international flights is being pushed back. While it had initially intended to recommence international services at the beginning of next month, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday that it will not be operating any flights beyond Turkish borders until 20 May.
  • Emirates has announced that it will be adding more destinations to its schedule as it eases back into operations following an all-encompassing flight ban by the UAE last month. On Monday, the airline issued a statement saying that it is planning services to North Africa, Asia and the US, in addition to its reinstated operations to London and Frankfurt.

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