Hungary-based airline Wizz Air said it was expecting a travel recovery in spring but before then winter would be tough, after the pandemic pushed it to a loss in the six months to the end of September. 

Wizz Air, which in recent years has expanded from eastern into western Europe, has so far withstood the pandemic better than some larger airlines.

It has continued to add new routes and remains buoyed by its strong cash position and flexible business model. 

For the six months to September 30, Wizz posted an underlying net loss of €145m, on passenger numbers which plunged 71% due to coronavirus travel restrictions. 

The airline said it had €1.6 billion in cash, meaning it could survive for two years even if it did not fly. 

Its chief executive Jozsef Varadi said that there were no plans to ground the fleet despite new lockdowns across Europe. 

While the next four to five months would be challenging, Varadi said he saw light at the end of the tunnel from spring when the second wave of the virus eases. 

He said he expected Wizz to fly 30% to 50% of last year's capacity over the winter period.