(Bloomberg) --

Wizz Air Holdings Plc posted a loss for the three months through December as the omicron variant of Covid-19 took its toll and the carrier spent money ramping up flights.

The discount carrier had an operating loss of 213.6 million euros ($241 million) in the period as renewed travel restrictions triggered by omicron curbed demand, the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Uncertainty over travel is likely to impact bookings into March, the airline said, leading to a higher loss in the fiscal fourth quarter through March. It had previously forecast a 200 million-euro loss for the third quarter that could carry over into early 2022.

Chief Executive Officer Jozsef Varadi said he’s cautiously optimistic that demand will recover through spring, allowing near-full utilization of the Wizz fleet from summer onwards. The U.K. this week said it would remove Covid-19 test requirements for vaccinated travelers, and the EU has said it plans to follow suit.

Wizz is staging an aggressive expansion as it seeks to narrow the gap to low-cost sector leader Ryanair Holdings Plc. While the Budapest-based firm became the first major European carrier to return to pre-Covid capacity in August as demand boomed, it had warned that the winter months would require price cuts to spur sales.

Varadi has also placed a major plane order and bought operating slots at London Gatwick airport to fuel growth, while Wizz was the unidentified bidder that made a takeover offer for British discount rival EasyJet Plc, Bloomberg reported in September.

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