Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier Wizz Air is to base a second Airbus A320 at Alexander the Great Airport in the Macedonian capital Skopje from April 2014 to boost its network and add frequencies on its existing routes. The budget carrier will offer a network of 13 destinations from the airport during summer 2014 offering over 680,000 seats.
Wizz Air made its debut in Macedonia in June 2011 when it launched flights between London Luton and Skopje, subsequently adding flights between the Macedonian capital and Venice in September 2011 and Treviso in October 2011. A major growth occurred in October 2012 with the opening of a single aircraft base at Alexander the Great Airport and new flights to Basel Mulhouse, Bergamo, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Malmo and Memmingen, while Scandinavian links to Gothenburg City and Stockholm Skavsta were added in May 2013.
"Wizz Air is known to stimulate air traffic in 36 countries by offering very low fares, and we clearly see that Macedonian consumers are as enthusiastic about our low fares as millions of Wizz Air passengers in Europe and beyond,” said John Stephenson, Executive Vice President of Wizz Air. “We stay committed to the Macedonian market and the development of the infrastructure of low cost air travel, and in response to the high demand for Wizz Air’s low fares I am thrilled to announce a new aircraft to our Skopje base.”
“The arrival of the second aircraft will bring Wizz Air’s total fleet investment in Skopje to over US$ 160 million. This will stimulate job growth and benefit consumers as we look forward to bring more low fares to Macedonia,” he added.
The additional capacity from the second 180-seat A320 will enable Wizz Air to introduce new links to Brussels Charleroi, Frankfurt Hahn and Paris Beauvais, all of which will initially operate on a twice weekly basis from April 16, 2014. This will be the first link between Skopje and the French capital, while Wizz Air flights will bring an alternative link to Brussels and mark the return of flights to Frankfurt. The Belgian capital has been served on a summer only basis by Jetairfly during 2012 and 2013, albeit serving the city’s international gateway, while Frankfurt am Main International was served up until October 2006 by Cirrus Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines.
Alongside the three new routes Wizz Air will up capacity on six of its existing routes increasing flights to Dortmund, Eindhoven and Memmingen from twice to three times weekly; to Gothenburg from twice weekly to four times weekly; to Basel Mulhouse from three times weekly to five times weekly and Malmo from five times weekly to seven times weekly.
Wizz Air is already the largest carrier at Skopje’s Alexander the Great Airport with a 35.0 per cent share of the available seat capacity and this network expansion will help it strengthen its position. Other leading operators from the airport comprise Turkish Airlines (14.5 per cent), Austrian Airlines (11.6 per cent) and the new Air Serbia (8.7 per cent).