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EasyJet Rejects Takeover Bid from Wizz Air

EasyJet has rejected a takeover approach from low-cost rival Wizz Air on 09 September 2021.

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EasyJet has rejected a takeover approach from Hungarian low-cost carrier rival Wizz Air. This reportedly unsolicited takeover bid comes amidst an aggressive expansion from Wizz Air into Western Europe. Whilst this attempt was rejected by the board, EasyJet has refused to rule out M&A in the future, either as a target or an acquirer, according to some sources.


Established airlines and start-ups see opportunity in pandemic, but pre-pandemic strategy may determine success

Wizz Air has experienced rapid growth in the past 10 years, and has made moves to take advantage of the recent pandemic-induced crisis to expand further. It remains one of a few airlines with shares trading above pre-Covid levels. In contrast, EasyJet's approach towards competing directly with flag carriers has meant the airline does not have the same ultra low cost base as Wizz Air and Ryanair, and thus a slower recovery.


In addition to expansion of existing carriers, discounted operating costs brought about by the pandemic have driven a modest boom in start-up airlines. Recent analysis also drew parallels with start-up airline trends following previous financial crises such as the Global Financial Crisis and 9/11.


EasyJet and Wizz Air - comparing current fleets and aircraft orders


Fleet data from IBA's aviation intelligence platform InsightIQ reveals some points of difference in the current EasyJet and Wizz Air fleets and order books.

  • The current EasyJet fleet is currently dominated by the Airbus A319 and Airbus A320-200. The operator currently has an order backlog of 92 A320Neo and 16 A321Neo aircraft.
  • The current Wizz Air Global fleet concentrates more on the Airbus A320-200 and Airbus A321-200/A321Neo aircraft. Looking at order backlog, InsightIQ shows Wizz Air has a substantially higher number of aircraft on order than EasyJet at present, with 181 A321Neo, 34 A320Neo and 20 x A321LR aircraft on order. That represents 117% more aircraft on order than EasyJet.


The EasyJet fleet is primarily formed of A319 and A320 aircraft, whereas the Wizz Air fleet has a skew towards larger A320 and A321 aircraft


Wizz Air currently have around 117% more aircraft on order than EasyJet

Wizz Air's fleet is greener per seat mile, but EasyJet's fleet investment in the A320Neo has driven notable reductions


CO2 emissions data from InsightIQ's unique Carbon Emissions Calculator (CEC) shows that overall, Wizz Air's increased focus on the larger A321 and A321Neo models drives lower overall fleet CO2 emissions (grams of CO2 per seat mile) than the more diverse EasyJet fleet which utilises the A319. However - EasyJet's clear shift towards the A320Neo has driven clear reductions in CO2 on specific routes. Notably, InsightIQ's CEC identified that switching to the NEO on EasyJet's London Gatwick to Tenerife route drove an 18% reduction in CO2 emissions between March 2018 and March 2021.


Wizz Air's CO2 emissions are generally lower due to the focus on the larger A320 and A321



East vs. West - EasyJet and Wizz Air's route focus

Flight data from InsightIQ has revealed several key differences between the two operators in the footprint of their European routes.



EasyJet flights

  • EasyJet's routes focus mostly on Western and Central Europe.
  • Slots available are at first-tier airports and cities
  • Average flight time for an EasyJet sector is 1.2 hours, and flights are most commonly operated by the A319


Wizz Air flights

  • Wizz Air's routes are focussed mostly on Eastern and Central Europe
  • Slots available are at second tier airports and cities
  • Average flight time for a Wizz Air sector is 2.2 hours, and flights are most commonly operated by the A321



IBA's InsightIQ analysis platform flexibly illustrates multiple asset, fleet and market positions, actual and potential, to inform client choices and identify acquisition opportunities. Immediate access to crucial aircraft, engine, lease rate and fleet data eases appreciation of historic and future aircraft concentrations and operator profiles.

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