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Wizz Air flies 3.6m passengers in April amid surging demand

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ow-cost European airline Wizz Air saw a more than 500% increase in the number of passengers carried in April as the recovery in the travel sector picked up pace.

The Hungarian airline, which is listed in London, said it carried 3.6 million passengers last month, up 542% on the 564,634 who flew with the group a year ago when the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions hammered demand.

Wizz Air recently bought extra slots at Luton Airport from Vueling, boosting services on existing routes to Romania and Poland and adding another 167,000 seats.

It said it now has more than 5.6 million seats available on flights for the summer season, with new routes across its network from Italy, the UK, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and Bosnia and Hercegovina to destinations across Europe.

New routes offer destinations in Greece, Germany, Denmark and Croatia.

Wizz Air said last month that it expects to fly more over the summer season than in 2019 before the pandemic struck as the ending of Covid-19 travel restrictions has put holidays firmly back on the agenda.

It also revealed at the time that it was trading better than expected thanks to the bounceback, despite suspending flights to and from Ukraine, Russia and Moldova due to the Ukraine war.

The planes it used to fly there are now being used on different routes.

The update comes after rivals easyJet and British Airways were hampered over the Easter getaway by a raft of flight cancellations, which was blamed on coronavirus-related staff absences and delays in processing security checks for new airline crew.

But, despite the disruption, Luton-based easyJet said its summer flight bookings were exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

Shares in Wizz Air rose 3% in morning trading on Tuesday thanks to its impressive passenger statistics, with the group revealing that its load factor – a measure of how well it fills its planes – jumped to 83.4% last month from just 59.2% a year earlier.

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