Wizz Air suffered a quarterly loss of €56.7 million as passenger numbers slumped by 93% in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Carryings for the three months to June 30 collapsed to 707,184 from 10.3 million in the same period last year.

The Hungarian budget carrier saw ticket revenues plunge by 92% to €29.4 million with ancillary revenues down by 80.3% to €61.4 million.

However, the airline re-allocated 22 aircraft across its network and moved to launch more than 200 new routes with new bases in Albania, Cyprus, Italy and Ukraine, as well as Germany, Romania and Russia.

Chief executive Jozsef Varadi descried the action as taking advantage of “significant market opportunities”.

He said: “Wizz Air maintains strong market and liquidity positions after the first quarter, a period which marks one of the most challenging times in the history of aviation.

“Due to the company’s rigorous cost management and focus on maximising returns on flights, the company’s total cash balance stands at €1.6 billion at the end of the quarter, while net underlying loss for the period was €57 million.

“We carried 700,000 passengers with a load factor of 56% at a time when European air travel came largely to a halt.

“Revenue per available seat kilometre increased 14% due to the company’s agile revenue management strategy, as well as an underlying strength in ancillary revenue performance.

“More importantly, at the end of June, Wizz Air was operating around 70% of its capacity, compared to an average of 11.5% in the first quarter.

“This gives Wizz Air important operational momentum going into the summer season.

“During the first quarter, we were focused on ramping up our operations, while protecting the health of our customers and employees.”

He added: “We remain focused on gradually ramping up operations whilst protecting the health of customers and employees.

“Where needed we will be open to stimulate traffic, while protecting our strong cash position and minimising cost.

“As the lowest cost producer operating the youngest and most efficient fleet of aircraft, we are best positioned to double down on the opportunities that present themselves and further contribute to the vital mobilisation and recovery of the economy in our markets.

“I believe Wizz Air will emerge as a structural winner post-Covid-19.”