Wizz Air, Europe’s fastest growing airline, announced big network expansions expansion this week. Along with a new base opening in Poland and expanding its biggest, Budapest base, the airline will re-establish Wizz Air Ukraine. Wizz Air is the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe and is Hungary’s hometown airline.

New Kraków base

The airline will base two Airbus A321 aircraft at Kraków airport in May and September 2019. Along with the establishment of the new base, Wizz Air announced twelve new services to nine countries from Krakow starting in April 2019.

A Wizz Air A321 taxiing at Budapest Airport (Source: Miklós Budai/Aeronautics Online)

Kraków will become Wizz Air’s 26th base and its newest base in Poland. Wizz has already established bases in Warsaw, Katowice, Gdansk, and Wroclaw. As part of WIZZ’s expansion, the airline will continue to increase its operations in Poland to provide Polish customers with even more travel opportunities. The base is a $240 million investment and will create 80 new direct jobs at Wizz in addition 140 jobs in associated industries. The two new Airbus A321 aircraft will support the operations of twelve new routes, including long-awaited services to London, Kyiv, Bari, Catania, Larnaca, Nice, Turku, Billund, Doncaster, Kharkiv, Oslo, and Kutaisi.

The new routes. Map generated by Roberts Abols using the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

“Today’s announcement underlines our commitment to Poland, our first market where we have launched operations back in 2004. We chose Kraków to be our newest base in Poland as we see the potential and the demand for low-cost travel in this city which is one of the most popular tourist destinations as well as a rapidly developing business hub,” said Stephen Jones, Executive Vice President and Deputy CEO of Wizz Air, at a press conference in Kraków. “Our newest base opens on 1 May 2019, with 80 new jobs directly with Wizz Air and starting next year we will offer 12 new and exciting routes. We are sure that our Polish customers will love the convenient schedule of our flights, the easy online booking system at wizzair.com and the wide selection of options to tailor-make the travel experience to each traveler’s needs. Our continuous growth in Poland further strengthens Wizz Air’s commitment to the country, the city and the airport of Kraków, as well as stimulate the tourism and hospitality industries in Poland.”

Re-establishing Wizz Air Ukraine

On 21 November, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the Chief Executive of Wizz Air, József Váradi, met to discuss the possible re-establishment of Wizz Air Ukraine.

Wizz Air Ukraine would establish an extensive low fare-low airline network in Ukraine. Up to 20 brand new Airbus A320-321 planes could be deployed to a number of bases in Kyiv and across regional centers in Ukraine. A US$2.5 billion investment, the airline would aim to carry 6 million passengers per year by 2025.

A Wizz Air A321 landing in Budapest Airport. (Source: Miklós Budai / Aeronautics Online)

Poroshenko and Váradi discussed the legislative, regulatory, and economic conditions that are essential to finalize a long-term sustainable business proposition.

Wizz Air Ukraine would elevate Ukraine’s airline industry by providing high-quality, cost-effective travel infrastructure for millions of Ukrainians and tourists. Wizz Air Ukraine would create around 6,000 local jobs (both directly and indirectly) and would significantly contribute to the economic prosperity of the country’s tourism and service industries. Wizz Air Ukraine could be a licensed airline as early as 2019.

“I am very happy about the decision to return to Ukraine. I believe that this is a very symbolic decision that characterizes the changes that took place in Ukraine over the past four years,” said Poroshenko. “The fact that Wizz Air is ready to take the decision to resume operations of its subsidiary, to pay taxes in Ukraine, to own the planes that the parent company will transfer back to the subsidiary – will significantly improve the efficiency of the company’s cooperation with the government. Our meeting stands as proof that Ukraine’s doors are open for the company, and that our cooperation will be fruitful.”

“Ukraine has always been and remains a very important market for Wizz Air. Since 2008, when the airline started operations in the country, we have carried 7 million passengers on our low-fare routes to and from Ukraine, thus becoming the leading low-cost carrier in the market,” said Váradi. “In demonstration of our commitment to Ukraine, and responding to strong customer demand, Wizz Air is prepared to scale up its investment in the country near term. This may include restart of our Ukrainian subsidiary Wizz Air Ukraine, provided we find necessary support from the national authorities. Our primary goal is to offer our Ukrainian customers more opportunities for affordable travel across and beyond Europe.”

Expansion in Budapest

Wizz Air announced a further expansion of capacity in its Budapest network with one new aircraft and two new routes: from Budapest to London Gatwick and Oslo. The airline has increased frequencies on three additional popular services. Next year, WIZZ is adding seventeen additional weekly flights to its Budapest network, growing seat capacity from the Hungarian capital to over 6 million in 2019, an 8% increase year-over-year.

The new Airbus A321 join Wizz Air’s Budapest fleet in March 2019, representing a further investment of almost USD$120million*. The aircraft will create 42 additional direct, local jobs with the airline. With the new A321 aircraft in Budapest and the upcoming A321 for Debrecen Wizz Air’s Hungarian fleet will grow to 16 aircraft, with 14 based in Budapest and two in Debrecen Airport.

A Wizz Air A320 landing at Budapest Airport. Source: Miklós Budai / Aeronautics Online

Starting in March 2019, the newest Wizz Air route will connect Budapest to London Gatwick, the second-busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the United Kingdom, with a daily service. In April 2019, Wizz Air will lauch a new route to Oslo

In addition to exciting new routes, WIZZ is increasing frequencies on the routes from Budapest to satisfy strong demand. Frequencies on services from Budapest to Frankfurt, Tel-Aviv and St. Petersburg will increase by up to 6 additional flights a week.

Featured image by Henrik Pedersen/Aeronautics Online

Information source: wizzair.com.

Categories: Industry Talk