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Hungarian Low-Cost Carrier Wizz Air Opens Four New Bases, Adds Hundreds Of Jobs
Right in the middle of the pandemic, when his airline’s flying activity had been reduced to a few flights per week, some of which were pure cargo, Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi was very bullish about the future of his company.
“This crisis will present us with opportunities,” Varadi said a month ago during a webinar hosted by Aviation Week.
And while most carriers are evaluating how to restart operations to adapt their route offerings to new levels of demand, last week Wizz Air announced the launch of two new bases in Europe at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy and in Larnaca International Airport in Larnaca, Cyprus. The two airports will play host to the 27th and the 28th bases for the Hungarian low-cost carrier.
In Milan, Wizz Air will base five Airbus A321 aircraft starting from July operating 20 new routes in 11 countries. This will be in addition to the eight destinations already served from the Italian airport. There will be six new destinations in Spain — three in the Canary Islands, two in the Balearic Islands and Valencia on the mainland — and six in Greece — Athens, Thessaloniki, Zakinthos, Rhodes, Santorini and Corfu. Further still, another destination added will be the Moroccan resort town of Marrakesh; Tel Aviv, Israel and four other destinations in Northern Europe, including Reykjavik, Iceland and London Luton Airport in the U.K.
“After 16 years of successful operations at Milan Malpensa Airport, I am happy to announce our most recent base,” Varadi said while attending the launch press conference in Milan. “We see a great potential demand for low-cost travel in Milan and in [the Italian region of] Lombardy. We are currently expanding our presence in Italy to offer more convenient flights to and from Milan while maintaining the highest safety standards with our new sanitation protocols. Wizz Air is the low-cost airline with the strongest liquidity in Europe and flies the youngest fleet with the lowest environmental impact.”
In Larnaca, Wizz Air will base two Airbus A320 aircraft providing services to 11 destinations in seven countries. Flights will link the Mediterranean island to three cities in Germany — Dortmund, Memmingen, Karlsruhe — two in Greece — Athens and Thessaloniki — two in Denmark — Copenhagen and Billund — and one each in Austria, Romania, Finland and Poland.
The airline is immediately starting to recruit 160 people to be based in Milan and further 100 for the Larnaca operations, providing a well-needed breath of fresh air to the job market in the airline industry after multiple announcements of layoffs by a majority of carriers in Europe.
Within the same week, Wizz Air announced more expansion also outside of the European Union, with the opening of two new further bases in Tirana, Albania and Lviv, Ukraine.
In Tirana there will be three new Airbus A320 aircraft based at the Albanian’s capital Mother Theresa Airport, flying to 15 destinations in eight countries, while in Lviv there will be only one aircraft operation five new routes. In 2006, Albania signed a Multilateral Air Services Agreement with the European Union and several other States in to form a so-called European Common Aviation Area, while Ukraine signed a “horizontal” open skies agreement with the EU in 2013 allowing E.U. carriers, such as Wizz Air, the freedom to operate to and from any destinations in Ukraine and the E.U.
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