What’s Behind Wizz Air’s Rapid Expansion

Budget airline Wizz Air has expanded significantly since it was first established in 2003. This growth has been…

What’s Behind Wizz Air’s Rapid Expansion

Budget airline Wizz Air has expanded significantly since it was first established in 2003. This growth has been steady, with the addition of more aircraft, more routes, and more bases. In 2021, at a time when market demand is just beginning to recover, what is driving the airline’s strategy of rapid expansion?

Wizz Air launched its UK subsidiary in 2018 and its Abu Dhabi subsidiary in 2021. Photo: Airbus

When it comes to managing an airline – or almost any business for that matter – the leaders at the top have broad decisions to make about the direction they want to take the company. Options may range from expansion to contraction, maintaining operations as they are, or going in some completely new direction. For Wizz Air, expansion has been its primary strategy- even at a time when the air travel market is struggling under unpredictable travel restrictions and lockdowns.

Coming from a strong financial position

During our July 15th webinar with Wizz Air Chief Operations Officer (COO) George Michalopolous, we asked about the airline adding capacity and adding bases at a time when the market was struggling.

To that inquiry, the airline executive first cited the airline’s “very strong financial position” and strong balance sheet when it first entered the pandemic. Michalopolous noted that the airline began the global health crisis with €1.6 billion in cash- a very strong financial position from which to expand operations. “[We had] the lowest unit cost in the industry. So this has allowed us to really expand during the pandemic,” he adds.

Indeed, having financial resources at a time when incoming revenue is all but a trickle makes up one big part of the equation.

Wizz Air Airbus A321XLR
Wizz Air will grow its reach in the future, but only within the bounds of the A320 family- which at least includes the higher capacity A321neo. Photo: Airbus

Airports are keen

So other than having a strong cash position, what else is spurring Wizz’s expansion? Well, the global health crisis has created a golden opportunity for the airline when it comes to accessing new airports.

The COO elaborated on its strategy of growth, saying,

“Why are crises good times to expand? [Because] I think there’s a lot of suppliers- airports in particular, which are keen to work together. And there are more market opportunities- you are able to build market share quicker, become relevant in the market quicker…In times like this, airports are keen to attract new airlines which are growing, and we’re one of the only ones out there growing.”

With airline fees making up a significant portion of airport revenue, most facilities are excited to welcome new airlines and the money-spending passengers they bring with them. Photo: Wizz Air

Michalopolous points out that this ‘keenness’ from suppliers to work together stems from other airlines scaling back their operations, thereby creating opportunities for expansion. “So, yeah, crises, in general, are for those who can afford to [expand], and are really good opportunities for expansion.”

Wizz Air’s strategy makes sense. The carrier ran a lean operation before the crisis and was able to use its ‘savings’ to broaden its footprint in the market at a time of soft or non-existent competition. This should see the carrier make even bigger gains as the air travel market continues to recover.

What do you think of Wizz Air’s pandemic-era expansion? Is it a good strategy, or is the airline setting itself up for trouble if the market suddenly shifts in the wrong direction? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Which Airlines Don’t Serve Alcohol And Why?

For many passengers, a glass of wine or can of beer is part of the flying experience. However,…

Which Airlines Don’t Serve Alcohol And Why?

For many passengers, a glass of wine or can of beer is part of the flying experience. However, for other travelers, this factor is completely foreign. In fact, numerous airlines outright restrict alcohol on their services.

Some airlines are strict with their alcohol policies. Photo: Getty Images.

The reasoning

The majority of airlines that ban alcohol sale on their aircraft are based in the Middle East and some are based further east across Asia. Naturally, there are significant Muslim populations in the countries that these carriers operate in. With alcohol heavily prohibited in these nations, it’s only natural that their businesses follow suit.

Emirates Getty
It should be noted that not all Middle Eastern carriers prohibit alcohol on their flights, with the likes of Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways offering service in this field. Photo: Getty Images

The airlines

Here is a look at notable examples of airlines that don’t serve alcohol on their flights.

Air Arabia: The Emirati low-cost airline states that alcohol is prohibited onboard its planes.

EgyptAir: The flag carrier of Egypt doesn’t sell alcohol. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it outright prohibits it. The airline doesn’t mind catering to passengers that bring their own alcoholic products onto the aircraft.

Iran Air: In Iran, alcohol has been legally prohibited for Muslim Iranians since 1979. This strong stance carries over to the national airline, with no offering of alcohol.

Iraqi Airways: There is no sale of alcohol on the Iraqi flag carrier. However, it can be carried in checked luggage.

Kuwait Airways: Kuwait’s national carrier doesn’t allow alcohol on its services.

Pakistan International Airlines: PIA does not serve alcohol on its flights. Pakistan’s national carrier also doesn’t let passengers consume it while on its services.

Royal Brunei Airlines: No alcoholic beverages will be found in the cabin of Brunei’s flag carrier.

Saudia: All Saudi carriers prohibit the drinking and carrying of alcohol on their services.

Airbus A330 EgyptAir
Some restrictive carriers aren’t as stringent as their counterparts. Photo: Getty Images

Other instances

Some carriers don’t serve alcohol on domestic routes. For example, Turkish Airlines only offers booze on international services and in its airport lounges. This domestic trend can also be seen across other countries such as India and China. Nonetheless, there are some exceptions.

Notably, some airlines are implementing temporarily bans amid social conditions. For instance, this summer, certain operators in the United States implemented alcohol restrictions on their services.

There has been a significant surge in rowdy passengers over the last year. Therefore, the likes of Southwest Airlines and American Airlines decided to restrict alcohol sale throughout the summer months.

Nonetheless, for these airlines, the change in policy is just part of the series of measures implemented in response to the global aviation overhaul in the last year and a half. Food and beverage offerings have had to adapt. However, for the carriers mentioned earlier in this article, the alcohol policy is more set in stone.

What are your thoughts about the sale of alcohol on board aircraft? What do you make of the policies of the different airlines? Let us know what you think of the conditions in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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