Central European budget carrier Wizz Air had 45 grounded Airbus A320neo-family aircraft, some 20% of its fleet, at the close of its fiscal year on 31 March, the result of Pratt & Whitney engine inspections.

The airline adds that 40 spare PW1100G powerplants are helping it cope with the engine-removal programme.

But it has not amended its previous assumptions with respect to the overall impact.

Wizz Air disclosed the grounding figure as it unveiled a return to full-year profitability with expectations of a €350-370 million ($375-395 million) net surplus.

The carrier attributes this to a “sustained demand” for air travel over the year – with stronger pricing driving revenues to around €5.05-5.1 billion, despite “softer” ancillary income – while “active management” of technical and geopolitical issues have moderated expenditure.

Wizz Airbus-c-Wizz Air

Source: Wizz Air

Wizz is forecasting flat capacity for fiscal 2024-25

Wizz Air is maintaining forecasts of flat capacity over the current first half and full year.

But it says it is “trading positively” into the summer 2024 season, with pricing and load factor trending above last year.

It expects to increase operating margins and operational cash, while further reducing debt, over fiscal 2024-25.

“Despite [disruptions], traffic increased consistently through the year and Wizz Air returned to profitability in [2023-24],” says chief executive Jozsef Varadi.

“This performance is a testament to our robust and agile operating model that allows us to withstand pressures, while simultaneously controlling costs and maintaining a relentless focus on growth.”

Wizz took delivery of 39 more Airbus A321neo jets over the course of the year, taking its overall fleet at 31 March to 206 aircraft.