Wizz Air is removing its ‘paid for’ large cabin bag policy from the autumn.

The news came today as a senior Air New Zealand executive is drafted in to bolster the airline’s senior management team.

Stephen Jones is to join the eastern and central European budget carrier as executive vice president and deputy chief executive before the end of the year.

He has been Air New Zealand’s chief strategy, network and alliances officer since 2013.

The appointment came as the airline reported a 25.2% leap in first quarter passenger carryings to 7.2 million with profits up by 50% to more than €58 million, helped by a strong Easter.

Wizz Air chief executive, József Váradi, said: “Our new cabin luggage policy announced today underlines our commitment to continuously provide excellent consumer experience every step of the customer journey.

“Wizz Air prides itself on its user-friendly software solutions reflected in our website and new mobile app, state-of-the-art technology and efficiency of our fleet as well as the outstanding on-board service and professionalism of staff.

“We are working hard on ensuring that the Wizz experience is as smooth and hassle free as it can get, thus no more fees for hand luggage on all Wizz Air flights from October 29 will further underline our commitment to this mission.”

Jones will be responsible for Wizz Air’s commercial, marketing and information technology organisations with the carrier’s chief commercial officer, chief marketing officer and head of information technology as direct reports.

He will also be an “important part” of the airline’s succession planning.

Wizz Air ticket revenues for the three months to June 30 increased by 25.1% to €265.3 million, with ancillary revenue up by 33.4% to €204 million

Váradi said: “Stephen’s extensive and successful experience in numerous areas of airline management over many years will bring significant extra capacity to the company’s leadership team, as it continues to drive Wizz Air’s growth at a market-leading rate while at the same time remaining focused on delivering a great customer experience, maintaining our ultra-low cost base to become the undisputed cost leader among European airlines and continuing to deliver one of the best profit margins in the industry.”

Reviewing the quarter, Váradi said: “The company experienced a particularly strong performance from Easter traffic in the first quarter.

“Our ultra-low cost base allows us to offer the lowest fares and that continues to stimulate the market for air travel in central and eastern Europe and, as economic growth in the region continues to push ahead of western Europe, ever more customers take the opportunity to fly with Wizz Air.

“This first quarter performance together with encouraging summer bookings and the favourable fuel price environment are setting the Company up for a strong year.

“However, as we have seen in recent history, airlines tend to compete away the benefit of lower fuel prices with extra capacity and therefore we remain cautious on the prevailing yield environment in the second half of this financial year, a period in which the company has very limited visibility.

“Therefore the company is today guiding towards the higher end of a full year net profit guidance range of between €250 million and €270 million.

“We continue to drive our ultra-low cost base even lower with a delivery stream of brand new A321 aircraft which deliver double digit cost savings compared to A320 aircraft.

“By March 2018 Wizz Air will be operating 26 A321 aircraft – representing a third of the airline’s planned seat capacity – which will give us a clear cost advantage versus most of our rivals.”

In other management changes, head of financial planning Iain Wetherall is promoted to chief financial officer and head of technical services Heiko Holm steps up to take the newly-created role of chief technical officer.


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