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Wizz Air Announces New Base At Rome’s Fiumicino Airport
There seems to be no slowing down Hungarian ultra-low-cost carriers Wizz Air’s expansion in Europe to consolidate its position in the marketplace as commercial air transport restarts after the pandemic-driven crisis.
Last week, the carrier announced its fifth base in Italy. It will add four new Airbus A321neo aircraft to be based at Rome—Fiumicino International Airport, adding 32 new routes to 19 countries and complementing the 25 routes already operated by Wizz Air into Rome Fiumicino and Rome Ciampino.
Most of these routes will be flown only two or three times per week, with only the service to London’s Luton Airport, one of Wizz Air’s biggest bases, to be operated almost daily. With most services commencing during the first half of July, the focus is on leisure routes to coastal destination in the Mediterranean area: five airports in Greece will be served — Corfu, Heraklion, Mykonos, Santorini and Zakynthos — plus three in Egypt — Alexandria, Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh — two in Croatia — Split and Dubrovnik — Turkey — Antalya and Bodrum — and Morocco — Casablanca and Marrakesh.
Additionally, the airline is adding flights to one in Tel Aviv, Israel and in Larnaca, Cyprus. Further still, WizzAir’s new offering will include three new services to Romania — Constanta, Satu Mare, and Tigru Mures — two to the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands — Fuerteventura and Tenerife — and two destinations in the UK — London and Liverpool. And finally, the carrier will launch flights to the Eindhoven, Netherlands; Sofia, Bulgaria; Reykjavik; Pristina, Kosovo; Kiev, Ukraine; Faro, Portugal; Nice, France; Prague and Tallinn, Estonia.
The announcement will double seats offered from Rome to four million seats per year and will create 100 new jobs at the airport plus 1,500 indirect jobs within associated businesses. This new base in Rome will be Wizz Air Group’s 43rd overall base and the second biggest in Italy after Milan’s Malpensa Airport.
“I am delighted to announce our newest base in Rome Fiumicino Airport. Wizz Air’s fifth Italian base underpins our commitment to continue to invest in Italy supporting both Italy’s economic recovery as well offering consumers a wide range of affordable destinations at low fares,” Wizz Air Group Chief Commercial Officer George Michalopoulos said during a press conference last week in Rome.
“In the last 12 months, we have allocated 17 based aircraft to Italy, and will continue to invest in the market doubling our presence in the next three years launching further operating bases and new domestic and international routes, ” the airline added in a note.
“Our brand new A321neo aircraft as well as our enhanced protective measures will ensure the best possible sanitary conditions for travelers while operating with the lowest environmental footprint. We look forward welcome passengers back on board with great service and a smile.”
Attack on Alitalia
This move from the Hungarian carrier is only the most recent by airlines operating in the Italian market to take advantage of the precarious financial situation at Italian flag carrier Alitalia. After the government decided to renationalize the carrier after unsuccessfully trying to find a buyer for the fledgling airline for over three years, the relaunch plan for the newly state-owned carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo, also known as ITA, has been stalled by the European Commission that is requesting substantial changes in order not to open an infraction procedure for violating E.U. rules on state aid.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit Alitalia hard. Salaries for March and April were paid late and not all employees received their already reduced paychecks. This has prompted all competitors, including Wizz Air, Ryanair, easyJet and Volotea, to flood the Italian market with thousands of extra seats for the next summer season in order to take advantage of Alitalia’s weakness.
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