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Wizz Air soars on upbeat trading update as both it and Ryanair report traffic growth in March

For the financial year ended 31 March 2019, Wizz said it expected net profits to be in the “upper half” of its guidance range of between €270mln-€300mln
Wizz Air and Ryanair planes
Wizz added that its new fiscal year had “started well”

Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) shares flew higher in early trading on Tuesday on the back of an upbeat trading update, with the airline and fellow budget carrier Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) both reporting year-on-year (YOY) rises in passenger traffic for the month of March.

Central and Eastern Europe-focused Wizz said net profits for the year ended 31 March were expected to be in the “upper half” of its guidance range of between €270mln-€300mln.

The company added that its new fiscal year had “started well” with revenue per available seat per kilometre (RASK) forecast to rise by 4% YOY in the first quarter, driven mainly by the timing of Easter and strength in its ancillary revenues.

In a separate update, Wizz reported that traffic had risen 9.9% YOY in March to 2.7mln passengers, while its load factor had risen by 2.6 percentage points (ppts) to 94.1%.

The uptick in load factor was lower than the 3 ppts YOY increase in February, while the traffic increase was also below last month’s figure of 12.9% YOY growth.

READ: Wizz Air flies lower as UBS downgrades rating to 'neutral' from 'buy'

In a note to clients, analysts at UBS said they expected the airline's shares to "rebound" on the trading update.

Ryanair traffic grows, reaches deal with Portuguese pilots

Meanwhile, Irish airline Ryanair reported 10.9mln passengers for the month just gone, a 9% YOY increase, with the load factor (i.e. the number of total seats filled) of 96% unchanged from February.

READ: Ryanair fleet renewal programme in doubt as Garuda Indonesia becomes first airline to cancel orders for Boeing 737 Max 8

The increases in passenger numbers were lower than in February, where traffic had risen 13% YOY to 9.6mln.

The company’s Ryanair airline alone was up 5% YOY with 10.5mln passengers and a 96% load factor, while its Lauda airline, an Austrian based carrier it has owned since January, carried 400,000 passengers with a 94% load factor.

READ: Ryanair and Wizz Air both report passenger growth of around 13% in February

In a separate announcement, Ryanair also said its pilots based in Portugal had voted in favour of a collective labour agreement governing their pay and conditions for the next four years.

Ryanair shares were down 2.2% at €11.2 while Wizz Air was up 4.1% at 2,999p.

--Adds detail on Wizz trading and updates share price--

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