Wizz Air Airbus A320. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Wizz Air to Lease Boeing 737s from SkyUp

DALLAS — Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air (W6) has signed a one-year wet-lease agreement with Ukrainian airline SkyUp Airlines (PQ). The deal, effective from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025, will see PQ provide W6 with three Boeing 737 aircraft.

The Ukrainian low-cost carriers were forced to adapt their business model significantly due to the ongoing war. With the airspace closure in Ukraine and the need to evacuate its fleet in 2022, PQ pivoted towards wet-leasing services, as reported by Aerotime.

Wizz Air Airbus A321neo. Photo: Robert Dumitrescu/Airways

Strategic Shift for SkyUp Amidst War

A wet lease agreement, also known as ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance), involves the leasing of an entire operational aircraft package, including crew and technical support.

This shift proved successful, with PQ’s aircraft and crews flying for various airlines like Tunisair (TU), FlyOne (5F), HiSky (H7), Corendon (XC), Tailwind Airlines (TI), and FlyEgypt (FT). However, the war's impact wasn't without effects.

Two of SkyUp's leased aircraft were destroyed during an ACMI mission caught in the crossfire of the battle for Khartoum International Airport (KRT) in Sudan. Despite these challenges, the LCC secured permission to operate in US airspace in 2023, demonstrating its continuous commitment to growth.

SkyUp Airlines Boeing 737. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Shared Impact of the War on Airlines

Wizz Air, like SkyUp, hasn't been immune to the war's disruptions. The conflict has not only hindered access to crucial markets but also led to the grounding of several W6 aircraft in Ukrainian airports. While the airline has managed to retrieve some, three planes remain grounded in Kyiv (KBP) as of April 2024.

This wet-lease agreement between the two low-cost carriers highlights a strategic response by both carriers to navigate the challenges presented by the ongoing war.

By increasing its active fleet with PQ’s aircraft and crew, W6 can continue its growth plans, while PQ leverages its expertise in wet-leasing services to maintain operations and keep its workforce active.

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