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Wizz Air boss predicts return to growth this year

Hungarian carrier Wizz Air claims to be selling 75% of seats on fights which it has restarted from Luton and predicts it will return to growth this year.

Speaking to the BBC the budget carrier’s founder József Váradi said younger people are starting to fly again to visit friends and relatives because they want an end to lockdown.

But he said operations are difficult because there are no international standards on how airlines should operate in relation to COVID-19 and social distancing.

However, Váradi said the idea of taking out a middle seat in aircraft will not work and would “kill” airlines in the long term.

And he said he sees widespread failures of airlines that are not national flag carriers and will not be bailed out by their governments.

“If you are not a national carrier bailed out by the government or you are not a self-sufficient cash rich airline, then your days are over, the clock is ticking,” he said.

Váradi predicted budget airlines that survive will prosper in the future as travellers will have less disposable income and more modern fleets will be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Wizz Air is cutting a fifth of its workforce in Europe, but has announced new routes from Luton to Greek island destinations and Faro.

The carrier also plans to increase its fleet of aircraft from 121 to 135 over the next 18 months and Váradi said the firm will return to growth this year.

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