Wizz Air Adds Szczecin to Polish Network

Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier Wizz Air is to further expand its network in Poland with the introduction of flights to the northwestern city of Szczecin from spring 2013.  The budget carrier will inaugurate twice weekly services to Stavanger and Sandefjord Torp from March 15, 2013, bringing an eighth Polish destination to its route map.

Wizz Air will become one of only three carriers to offer international flights from the ‘Solidarność’ Szczecin-Goleniów Airport, a former military facility that it witnessed a strong growth in air passenger demand during the past decade.  According to traffic statistics the airport handled just under 70,000 in 2001 but this had grown to around 300,000 at the end of the decade.  Last year approximately 262,000 passengers used the airport, the majority flying on Ryanair’s flights to the UK and Ireland and LOT Polish Airlines’ domestic route to the capital Warsaw.

Szczecin is the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland.   Located on the Oder River, south of the Szczecin Lagoon and the Bay of Pomerania in the vicinity of the Baltic Sea, it is the country's seventh largest city and the largest seaport in Poland.

Wizz Air has come a long way since it launched flights on May 19, 2004.  In less than ten years it has expanded to 16 operating bases across the region, comprising Gdansk, Poznan, Katowice, Warsaw and Wroclaw, in Poland; Budapest in Hungary, Sofia in Bulgaria; Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca Tirgu Mures and Timisoara in Romania; Vilnius in Lithuania, Kiev in Ukraine; Belgrade in Serbia, Prague in Czech Republic, and Skopje in Macedonia, offering flights on over 250 routes.

Despite already serving six points in Poland (its five bases and Lodz - it will also add Lublin to its network later this year), Wizz Air believes there is sufficient local demand to introduce these two Norwegian routes from Szczecin, even with rival budget carrier Norwegian also serving the Oslo market with flights to Gardermoen, the city’s main international gateway.  Although the city of Szczecin has an estimated population of 400,000 people, the airport’s wider catchment spreads to a market of around 1.2 million passengers.

In the table below we highlight the network of scheduled flights of Wizz Air - including its sister carrier Wizz Air Ukraine - for March 2013 and compare this with the same month this year.  Overall seat capacity is up 2.6 per cent with additional routes and frequencies increases still expected to be announced for the summer 2013 schedule.  Although the carrier’s main focus is on Central and Eastern Europe its main destination is London Luton which it serves from across its network.  The facility accounts for 11.0 per cent of Wizz Air’s seat capacity in March 2013 with 672 flights currently scheduled for the month, more than 20 a day. 

The most notable change in March 2013 versus the same month last year is the arrival of two new network points in the analysis.  However, this is not because of a major new expansion from the carrier but simply a switch of flights from Baneasa to Henri Coanda in the Romanian capital Bucharest and from Chopin to Modlin in the Polish capital Warsaw.  Of the top 10 destinations in the Vueling network, only three have reported capacity declines with modest falls at Dortmund (down 2.0 per cent) and Bergamo Orio al Serio (down 6.8 per cent) and a much larger 22.4 per cent fall at Katowice Pyrzowice.

The budget carrier is growing significantly in a number of markets and reducing capacity is a number of others, the analysis shows.  Big increases in seat capacity are noticeable at Kiev Zhulyany (34.1 per cent), Vilnius (58.4 per cent) and Sandefjord Torp (28.2 per cent), but large declines are also evident at Prague Ruzyne (21.1 per cent), Rome Fiumicino (31.7 per cent) and Barcelona El Prat (30.3 per cent)

WIZZ AIR SCHEDULED AIR SERVICES (non-stop departures; March 2013)

Rank

Airport

Departures

Available Seats

% Network Capacity

Capacity Change (vs March 2012)

1

London Luton (LTN)

672

120,960

11.0 %

1.5 %

2

Budapest Liszt Ferenc (BUD)

447

80,460

7.3 %

15.5 %

3

Bucharest Henri Coanda (OTP)

346

62,280

5.6 %

New Entrant

4

Gdansk Lech Walesa (GDN)

314

56,520

5.1 %

1.6 %

5

Warsaw Modlin (WMI)

299

53,820

4.9 %

New Entrant

6

Katowice Pyrzowice (KTW)

273

49,140

4.5 %

(-22.4) %

7

Dortmund (DTM)

243

43,740

4.0 %

(-2.0) %

8

Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY)

192

34,560

3.1 %

(-6.8) %

9

Eindhoven (EIN)

186

33,480

3.0 %

8.1 %

10

Kiev Zhulyany (IEV)

177

31,860

2.9 %

34.1 %

11

Sofia (SOF)

160

28,800

2.6 %

(-14.4) %

12

Cluj Napoca International (CLJ)

149

26,820

2.4 %

(-8.0) %

13

Vilnius (VNO)

141

25,380

2.3 %

58.4

14=

Prague Ruzyne (PRG)

120

21,600

2.0 %

(-21.1) %

14=

Treviso Sant’Angelo (TSF)

117

21,060

1.9 %

5.4

16=

Paris Beauvais (BVA)

110

19,800

1.8 %

3.8

16=

Rome Fiumicino (FCO)

110

19,800

1.8 %

(-31.7) %

18

Barcelona El Prat (BCN)

108

19,440

1.8 %

(-30.3) %

19

Brussels Charleroi (CRL)

106

19,080

1.7 %

2.9

20

Sandefjord Torp (TRF)

100

18,000

1.6 %

28.2

(Others)

1,760

316,800

28.7 %

(-4.7) %

TOTAL

6,130

1,103,400

-

2.6 %