No-frills carrier Wizz Air has seen profits tumble despite joining regional airline Flybe in bolstering revenues during the third quarter.
Pre-tax profits at Wizz plummeted 56% to 14.6 million euros (£12.8 million) in the three months ending in December, as operating expenses jumped by a quarter to 408.2 million euros (£359.5 million) in the face of higher fuel prices.
Revenues lifted by 24% to 422.9 million euros (£372.5 million) over the three-month period, thanks to a 24% rise in passenger numbers to a record 7.1 million.
The Hungarian-based airline, which is in the midst of bolstering operations at Luton Airport, stood by its outlook for an annual net profit of 265 million euros (£233.4 million) to 280 million euros (£246.6 million).
Chief executive Jozsef Varadi said: “The third quarter also saw some exciting new developments and investments for Wizz Air’s business, as our top priorities remain profitable growth and driving our ultra-low cost base even lower.
“We increased our market share in London-Luton to over 37% through the acquisition of a number of overnight stands and slots; the new Wizz Pilot Academy welcomed its first intake of 20 cadets, with over 100 cadets being recruited over the next 12 months; and we also signed our largest ever aircraft order with Airbus.”
Regional airline Flybe also enjoyed a revenue surge during the third quarter, climbing 8.5% to £158.8 million as passenger numbers rose 8.1% to 2.3 million.
While passenger revenue is set to lift 5% during the fourth quarter, the airline said it was anticipating a 2% fall in seat capacity.
Chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: “We are making strong progress against our sustainable business improvement plan.
“During this quarter, we continued with our planned fleet and capacity reductions and delivered higher load factors, increased passenger numbers and strong unit revenue performance.
“We expect this improvement to continue, but at a slightly slower rate in the final quarter of the year.”
Shares in Wizz Air dropped more than 2% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange, while Flybe pushed 2% higher.