The aviation industry has finally been served some good news as Wizz Air has said it is placing an order with Airbus for 50 short-haul planes, as it attempts to become one the largest low-cost carriers in Europe.
The order rounds off a hugely successful week for Airbus at the Paris Air Show. The Toulouse-based manufacturer has secured firm orders for more than 100 jets, despite the current turmoil within the industry.
The deal is valued at $3.8bn at list prices before discounts. The latest purchase, agreed in a memorandum of understanding signed this week, will take its total orders from the European aircraft maker to 132.
Other orders include 24 Airbus A320s from Qatar Airways and 16 for Vietnam Airlines. AirAsia X, the long-haul low-cost airline, ordered 10 400-seat, widebody Airbus A350-900s.
Started in 2004, Wizz Air is continuing to expand quickly, along similar lines to Ryanair, in spite of the deep recession in the air travel market.
The airline, which focuses on Central and Eastern Europe already has a fleet of 26 Airbus A320s.
The low-cost airline business model is proving much more resilient in the downturn than the traditional network carriers. Both Wizz Air and Ryanair are continuing to add capacity and expand their fleets, in stark contrast to full service airlines such as British Airways and Lufthansa, which have announced capacity cuts.
Wizz Air has a network of 11 bases in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine and the Czech Republic with a network of more than 130 routes.
Jozsef Varadi, the airline’s chief executive, said the group was planning to expand its passenger numbers this year by around 27 percent to 7.5m from 5.9m last year.