Blue Air: 150 mln turnover, profit nears zero

The low-cost airline Blue Air said its turnover rose 20% to €140-150 million in 2009, but well short of €170 million estimate.

“We still don’t have the exact profit numbers, but it will surely not exceed few hundreds euro at best”, said Adrian Ionascu (photo), chief executive of Blue Air.

The airline carried 1.7 million passengers last year, with an average load factor of 75%.

According to the chief executive of Blue Air, the airline had at the end of the year a market share of 42-44%. “Last year, we tried to diversify our target segment. Apart from the ethnic traffic, we focused on city-breaks and business segment,” Ionascu added.

The most important category remained the ethnic traffic, as Italy accounts for 40% Blue Air’s flights and Spain for 30%.

In 2009, the aviation company added new routes to its timetable: Constanta – Brussels, Thessaloniki – London, Bucharest – Nice (in the summer timetable, flight to be introduced this year too), from Suceava and Baia Mare to Venice, Vienna and Rome.

Wizz Air: 16 new routes and 87% in number of passengers

Wizz Air: 16 new routes and 87% in number of passengersWizz Air carried 1.65 million passengers in 2009 from Romania, 87% more than in 2008, according to own statements.

Romania is thus by far the most important growth market for the low-fare airline.

“Wizz Air Hungary that also operates flights from and to Romania has already swung into profit”, said Natasha Kazmer (photo), communication director of the company. However, she refused to disclose further details on the financial performance of the airline.

In 2009, the company opened a new base in Timisoara and increased its fleet to 6 aircrafts.

Wizz Air launched operations on 16 new routes in Romania.

Wizz Air currently operates 31 routes to and from Romania and 230 weekly flights.

The race continues: Audacious plans for 2010

The race continues: Audacious plans for 2010For 2010, Blue Air expects the low-cost aviation market to reach 5 million passengers. In this context, both companies came up with expansion plans to get a bigger slice of the aviation industry pie.

As for Blue Air, the company targets 2.2 million passengers and a turnover of €200-220 million.

In order to achieve these objectives, Blue Air will introduce new routes as of March: Bucharest-Dublin, and Bucharest-Florence. Constanta – Brussels and Bucharest-Nice routes will be added in the summer timetable.

The airline also plans to open new bases, in Larnaca (Cyprus) and Sibiu. “Cyprus is an important market for us. We have a 65% share of all flights to and from Romania”, said Ionascu at the opening of the base in Cyprus.

To serve the new routes, the company will increase fleet by 5 aircrafts (3 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation and 2 SAAB 340). “We will increase headcount by 30%. We plan to recruit 200 persons in 2010, mainly cabin crew staff (around 30-50 pilots) and engineers”, said Ionascu. The company currently employs 830.

In 2010, the Romanian market will remain one of the top priorities for the Hungarian-based airline Wizz Air as well. The company plans to carry 2 million passengers on the routes to and from Romania.

Wizz Air’s strategy for this year will be based on the consolidation of the existent routes. “We will remain focused on routes to and from Italy, which is the most important market, especially after the bankruptcy of My Air, but also on Romania-Spain air routes, for which the business segment declined but was offset by the growth on leisure travel”, said the representative of Wizz Air.

The company said recently it added a new aircraft to Cluj base, enabling the company to operate new flights from Pisa and Cuneo /Torino as of June 2010.