Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) is planning to equip its Wizz Air UK (W9, London Luton) unit with three aircraft initially the Hungarian budget carrier's chief executive officer has revealed.

Speaking during a 1H earnings call, József Váradi said the nascent UK subsidiary was on track to complete its AOC certification in time for a March 2018 launch. During its first year of operations at its London Luton base, Wizz Air UK will employ 110 staff initially growing to 180 and five aircraft in 2019, and 250 employees and seven aircraft in 2020.

This business plan may change, Váradi said, depending on how Brexit pans out. Although Wizz Air UK is primarily there to ensure continued access to the UK market beyond the UK's impending March 2019 departure from the European Union, it will also allow Wizz Air to take advantage of any further airline consolidations that may occur in the UK market.

Against this backdrop, Váradi spoke of Wizz Air's keen interest in the Luton slots Monarch Airlines (ZB, London Luton) has been ordered to return to Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL) following a High Court ruling on Wednesday, November 8, which said the now-defunct carrier was no longer entitled to any further slot allocations "by reason of historical precedence (grandfather rights)”.