Wizz Air Holdings has disclosed its mitigation plans to deal with Pratt & Whitney GTF engine inspections on its fleet of A320neo family aircraft with 45 aircraft expected to be grounded through the end of financial year 2024 (i.e. March 31, 2024).

"Based on a service bulletin (issued November 3, 2023) and verification performed with Pratt & Whitney, we are projecting a grounding of 45 aircraft at the end of FY24 (including aircraft grounded in September ‘23) in order to administer mandatory GTF engine inspections," it said in an earnings brief. "The so called ‘Second Batch Engines’ are expected to be removed from middle of January ‘24, subject to regulator’s airworthiness directive."

The low-cost carrier holding said the final number of aircraft impacted by the inspections through the end of the current financial year and beyond will depend on engine utilization (cycle count), the number of spare engines available, and MRO induction slot availibility. Wizz Air says the operational and financial impact of the groundings would be mitigated by what it terms "management actions and OEM compensation".

As part of its action plan, Wizz has extended the leases for nine A320-200s and four A321-200s and is currently in the process of doing so for additional lease periods of two to four years, with seven contracts already extended and six "in the documentation stage". Chief executive József Váradi said its existing fleet would see increased utilisation while continued new aircraft deliveries from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) would also help offset any PW1100 engine-related groundings. Wizz Air is also looking to secure additional aircraft from the market to ensure that its capacity in financial year 2025 (i.e. April 1, 2024-March 31, 2025) will at least be equal to the current financial year. With the completed lease extensions and the ones expected to be completed soon, Wizz Air still expects to operate nineteen A320ceo and twenty-nine A321ceo by March 2026.

Across its four operational units namely Wizz Air, Wizz Air Malta, Wizz Air UK, and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the Indigo Partners-backed holding currently operates forty-one A320-200s (three stuck at Kyiv Igor Sikorsky), forty-one A321-200s, six A320-200neo, 104 A321-200NX, and a single A330-200F. Five of its six A320neo and five of its A321neo are currently parked or undergoing maintenance, according to ch-aviation fleets data.