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Wizz Air confirms interest in failed Monarch's runway slots as it lifts profit forecast

Wizz Air shares flew lower after its new full year guidance disappointed the market
Wizz Air
Wizz Air has a "profound interest" in Monarch's Luton slots

Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) chief executive József Váradi has confirmed the company’s interest in the runway slots at Luton Airport left behind by collapsed airlines Monarch Airlines.

His remarks came as Monarch’s administrators, KPMG, lost a High Court battle to sell take-off and landing slots that cover Luton, Manchester, Gatwick, Birmingham and Leeds-Bradford airports.

The court said the airline did not have the rights to the assets, which are believed to be worth as much as £60mln.

It supported an earlier decision by Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), an independent slot coordinator, against allocating certain take-off and landing slots to Monarch for next summer. 

KPMG’s lawyers said the slots were its most valuable asset and argued that ACL “has no lawful power to refuse to allocate these slots or to 'reserve' them pending determination of proposals to revoke or suspend MAL's operating licence”.

Following the court’s ruling, it is believed ACL may now be able to redistribute the slots, giving priority to newer airlines. However, KPMG plans to appeal the decision.

Váradi said is hoping to get his hands on the slots at Luton airport once the process is clear.

“We have a profound interest in the Luton slots which Monarch had and we hope they will become available,” he said.

Wizz Air raises full year forecast but shares fall

His comments followed the airline’s first half results, which revealed a 24.8% increase in revenue to £1.1bn as passenger numbers increased 25% to 15.62 million.

In the six months to 30 September, underlying earnings before restructuring costs grew 27.5% to £492.2mln and profit climbed 24.6% to £288.6mln.

The company raised its full-year profit forecast to a range of €265mln-€280mln, up from a previous range of €250mln-€270mln.

However, shares fell 9.42% to 3,021p as analysts’ had expected a bigger lift to guidance.

UBS said: “Although  a  good  set  of  numbers  we  think  the  shares  will  fall  as  shares  were  factoring in a material increase to numbers instead of in line with consensus.” 

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