The CEO of Wizz Air has said that reducing its hand luggage allowance helped raise revenue per passenger by 7 per cent.

Third quarter results for the Hungarian low-cost carrier show it made a sliver of pre-tax profit, taking €1.7m – down from €14m over the same period in 2017.

Meanwhile it carried 14.9 per cent more passengers, from 7.1 million to 8.1 million, and increased revenue from €422.9 to €512.7.

CEO Jozsef Varadi said: “The introduction of a new carry-on bag policy in November of last year contributed to a strong performance in ancillary revenue with unit revenue per passenger 7 per cent higher in the quarter.”

The change saw on-board luggage allowance reduced to one 40 x 30 x 20cm item, with any other bags required to be checked in at a cost.

Ryanair and Wizz Air introduce new hand luggage policies

Like many airlines, Wizz Air was hit by a rise in fuel prices in 2018 which sent profits down.

Varadi said the company had adjusted growth capacity to help offset the cost pressure with higher yields.

“As a result the company saw 6 per cent increase in unit revenues per ASK [Available Seat Kilometre] in the reporting period,” he said.

Varadi added that the recent fall in fuel prices would see Wizz Air increase utilisation levels again to drive unit costs lower, and that the airline would maintain its net profit guidance range of between €270m and €300m for the full year.

Wizz recently announced six new routes from Luton that should see it take over from Easyjet as the largest carrier at the airport by next summer, with 42 per cent of market share.