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Wizz Air increases capacity growth after strong start to year

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Wizz Air increases capacity growth after strong start to year
FILE PHOTO: A Wizz Air Airbus 321-231 aircraft, registration number HA-LXT, is pictured at the London Luton Airport, Luton, Britain, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel   -   Copyright  KACPER PEMPEL(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Low-cost airline Wizz Air <WIZZ.L> has raised its full-year capacity growth rate after a strong start to its financial year, benefiting as struggling rivals cut their expansion plans.

The central and eastern European-focused carrier said it was confident in reiterating its full-year outlook.

“We remain optimistic for the current financial year,” Chief Executive Jozsef Varadi said.

“Higher fuel prices are supporting a stronger fare environment as weaker carriers withdraw unprofitable capacity and as a consequence, Wizz Air raised its full-year capacity growth rate.”

The airline, which is headquartered in Budapest, said it was lifting its capacity growth rate to 20% from 16% after posting a record net profit of 72.4 million euros ( £64.62 million ) in the three months to June 30, its first-quarter trading period.

Wizz is growing capacity as some major rivals are cutting back. Last week, Ryanair <RYA.I> halved its growth plans for next year due to delays in deliveries of Boeing’s <BA.N> grounded 737 MAX jet.

That move lifted shares in rival European airlines which had feared a surge in new capacity would drag down ticket prices.

Wizz reiterated its guidance of 320 to 350 million euros net profit for the full year.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by James Davey and Jan Harvey)

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