Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, announced today it signed its first lease agreement with CCB Financial Leasing for 11 Airbus A321ceo aircraft, Wizz Air’s largest lease agreement yet.
The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to Wizz Air in 2016-2017.
“We are very excited to begin a relationship with CCB Financial Leasing, and to start the relationship with our largest leasing agreement in Wizz history,” said Wizz Air Chief Executive Officer József Váradi. “The agreement also continues an even larger relationship between Wizz Air and the Chinese financial community.”
“We are very pleased to have Wizz Air as our important customer and sign this significant transaction with them," said Mr. WANG Qiang, President of CCB Financial Leasing. "As part of the internationalization strategy of China Construction Bank, CCB Financial Leasing will continue to expand its presence in global aviation leasing market through its Irish platform."
The agreement is in line with the Wizz Air business model of sale/leaseback where the company negotiates and contracts directly with Airbus for new aircraft, then executes a sale/leaseback agreement with a lessor.
“We always evaluate the best method at the time to finance our new aircraft and for the time being, sale/leaseback works best for us and our shareholders,” Váradi said. “One big reason is it allows us to maintain the youngest fleet in Europe and that benefits the customer in a number of ways.”
Wizz Air began adding larger-cabin Airbus A321ceo aircraft to its A320ceo fleet this month, with the first new aircraft beginning service 20 November. In addition to the newly delivered A321, Wizz Air has 26 additional A321ceo aircraft set for delivery through 2018, 11 now financed by CCB. Nine will join the fleet in calendar year 2016, and be deployed first to high-frequency bases including Budapest, Bucharest and Warsaw.
Adding the A321ceo, the largest member of the reliable A320 family, positions Wizz Air to meet growing passenger demand from Central and Eastern Europe for more low-fare air travel. In the first half of fiscal year 2016 (year ending March 31, 2016), Wizz Air carried 10.7 million passengers, a 20 percent increase in passenger demand over the same period in FY 2015, and its load factor grew to 90.7 percent.
The A321 in the Wizz Air configuration holds 230 passengers (the A320 holds 180), providing more low-fare seats on the airline’s popular routes, such as Budapest to London Luton. Wizz Air is the first European low-fare operator to employ the 230-seat configuration.
Wizz Air also has an order with Airbus for 110 A321neo aircraft that will begin delivery in 2019 and run through 2024.