Can Wizz Air Become A Competitive Threat to Ryanair?

Photo Credit: Arash Abed/AviationSource

LONDON – With Hungarian carrier Wizz Air growing further and further over the years, can they become a competitive threat to Irish carrier Ryanair?

Whilst Wizz has been growing its route network further within Europe; the Hungarian low-cost carrier still has a lot to do in terms of catch-up to its Irish competitor.

That being said, the airline has recently announced additions to its base in Kutaisi, as well as opening its first new route in Luxembourg to take place in 2023.

With this in mind, we ask the following question: Can Wizz Air become a competitive threat to Ryanair going into the future?

The Numbers…

Photo Credit: Joris Wendt/AviationSource

Looking at FY22 (Financial Year) numbers, let’s take a look at the difference between Wizz Air and Ryanair in terms of passengers handled:

MonthRyanair NumbersWizz Air NumbersGap Between Ryanair & Wizz Air
April 20211m564.6k435.4k
May 20211.8m832.5k967.5k
June 20215.3m1.55m3.75m
July 20219.3m2.95m6.35m
August 202111.1m3.58m7.52m
September 202110.6m2.99m7.61m
October 202111.3m2.97m8.33m
November 202110.2m2.17m8.03m
December 20219.5m2.63m6.87m
January 20227m2.39m4.61m
February 20228.7m1.92m6.78m
March 202211.2m2.47m8.73m
Total Numbers97m27.01m69.99m
FY22 passenger numbers for Wizz Air & Ryanair.

What we can see from the FY22 numbers is that Wizz Air does have a lot to catch up on, with there being a gap of around 70 million passengers between the two sides.

Based on the traffic statistics released by both carriers is that even in different FYs where COVID-19 was not present, the differences remain the same.

Even so, Wizz Air definitely has the potential to catch this up, especially with their future plans offering a very exciting outlook ahead.

Fleet Size Will Be One To Look Out For…

Photo Credit: Joris Wendt/AviationSource

At this present time, it is safe to say that Wizz Air’s fleet is a lot smaller than that of Ryanair. However, the Hungarian carrier has a lot of aircraft on order.

Based on data provided by ch-aviation, Wizz has a fleet of over 153 aircraft, with a grand total of 305 on order.

On the other hand, Ryanair has a fleet of over 506 aircraft and counting, with 136 more aircraft on order that is due to be delivered.

This means that Ryanair should have a fleet of 642 aircraft by the time all deliveries are completed, with Wizz Air having 458 aircraft by the time all deliveries are completed.

However, as per Simple Flying, CEO Varadi said the following to the media outlet on becoming a 500-aircraft airline group:

“We remain on track to become a 500 aircraft airline group by the end of the decade while delivering our commitment to reducing our already industry-leading CO2 emissions by 25% by 2030.”

Now, with this in mind, Ryanair will be able to handle more passengers with a larger fleet. Still, with Varadi wanting to increase the fleet further, he could very well achieve similar passenger numbers moving forward.

Is Wizz Air Spread Out Too Thinly?

Photo Credit: Arash Abed/AviationSource

With Wizz Air expanding its sights into an Abu Dhabi subsidiary, could the airline be spread out too thinly to achieve a Ryanair-Esque passenger number figure?

What Ryanair aims to do with its operations is to boost frequencies and introduce new bases at a fast rate, which is why more aircraft are needed.

Because they are focused on Europe only, with no other focus elsewhere, this could potentially put Wizz Air at a disadvantage.

That being said, we won’t fully know the answer until all of the outstanding aircraft are delivered.

But at the moment, that does appear to be the direction the airline is headed, but it also depends on how far Varadi wants to take the Abu Dhabi subsidiary as well.

Also, there is nothing to stop Wizz Air from ordering more Airbus aircraft going into the future as well. So again, it is a matter of perspective and what is going to happen over the next few years.

Overall: Wizz Air Have The Potential To Become A Competitive Threat…

Photo Credit: Arash Abed/AviationSource

With everything in mind, Wizz Air most definitely has the potential to become more of a competitive threat against Ryanair in the European low-cost battle.

As more aircraft get introduced into the fleet, the emergence of more routes will follow, and with that, higher passenger numbers will follow.

All eyes are therefore going to be on CEO Varadi to see how far he can take Wizz Air with the new aircraft and whether they can expand on the obvious successes they have been experiencing over the past few years.

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