József Váradi, founder and chief executive of the Hungarian low-cost airline, said Wizz Air had enough pilots and crew to operate properly, but pinned the ongoing travel chaos on the rules of post-Brexit immigration.
He said: “There is a lack of staff in air traffic control management. There are not enough staff at the airports and in the ground handling services.
“The solution is that the supply chain has to operate to standard. That’s what we’re missing.
“The UK’s post-Brexit immigration policy is putting severe pressure on the labor market, which is unique to Britain across the industry.
“You have exemptions for agricultural workers, maybe there should be exemptions for aviation.
“These immigration policies are a huge constraint and are counterproductive.”
The Wizz Air boss also warned shareholders that recent disruptions at airports will likely cause the airline to suffer an operating loss in the first quarter of its fiscal year.
“Staff shortages in air traffic control, security and other parts of the supply chain have a direct impact on airlines, our employees and our customers,” Varadi said.
He added: “We are seeing strong consumer demand for the summer, but expect an operating loss for the first quarter of F23.
“The airline industry remains exposed to externalities such as air traffic control disruption and ongoing operational issues in the airport sector, adding to a volatile macro environment.
“As a result, at this stage, we are not providing any further financial guidance for the year.”
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He added that the price of a plane ticket could jump almost 10% this summer as European travelers try to get away from it after two years of heavy travel restrictions.
The Wizz Air boss said tickets were already more expensive now than they were the year before the pandemic.
He expects that to rise even further, to “higher single digits” in the company’s second quarter, which runs between July and September.
“Our bookings are showing strong performance in the first fiscal quarter, with average rates up single digits compared to (the) same period in F20 (year ending March 2020),” he said.
“For the fiscal second quarter, we expect pricing in the mid-single digits ahead of the equivalent F20 period.”
This could see fares rise by almost 10%, although the company has not revealed a more detailed assessment of where they are likely to go.
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The number of passengers carried by Wizz more than doubled from 10.2 million to 27.1 million in the year to the end of March.
Revenue rose 125% to €1.7bn (£1.5bn), while pre-tax loss fell from €567m to €642m (from €482m to €546m). pound sterling).
It comes as British holidaymakers face further disruption today after two Italian unions called for a nationwide crew strike.
According to Italian media, pilots and flight attendants from airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and Crewlink are expected to strike for four hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The unions Italian Federation of Transport Workers (FILT) and Italian Union of Transport Workers (UILT) said the strike was over wage disputes, non-payment of sick leave, summer holidays and a “lack of ‘water and meals for the crew’.
The UILT said that if an agreement is not reached, “it will only be the first in a series of protest actions which will make the summer ‘hot'”.
Easyjet has warned customers that there may be disruptions to its schedule.