Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe and Romania’s largest airline, has further strengthened its activities in the country with the launch of the only current international flight from Satu Mare Airport in the northwest of the country.
The budget operator will introduce flights from the city close to the Hungarian and Ukrainian borders, its tenth destination in Romania with a twice weekly link to London Luton, its largest single point in its network, from October 31, 2016.
As it celebrates ten years of operations in Romania, Wizz Air is offering the greatest connectivity between Romania and the rest of Europe and promoting economic development throughout the country with the introduction of new direct international services from an increasing number of regional points.
Although Satu Mare, which translates as ‘big village’, is an academic, cultural, industrial and business centre and home to one of the longest runways in Romania, direct scheduled flights from Satu Mare International Airport have been limited.
Although it once acted as a transit point for long-haul flights by national carrier Tarom to both Chicago and New York in the 1990s, it is located in a congested area within Europe and with a number of other airports within its own catchment area, the flag carrier offers the only regular link serving the city with a six times weekly domestic ATR turboprop connection into the Romanian capital, Bucharest.
But back in 2012 Blue Air did offer a series of summer flights to Cuneo and Venice in Italy and Wizz Air’s business model has proven that it can easily stimulate demand through its low-fare offering a build a new market for air passengers.
“We are thrilled to announce Satu Mare as our tenth Romanian airport and will be the first airline to offer international services from the airport,” said George Michalopoulos, chief commercial officer, Wizz Air.
“We are sure that our new route to London will be welcomed by consumers as we bring low fares to the region. Likewise, we are confident that UK passengers will enjoy visiting one of the oldest cities in northwest Romania that has many tourist attractions to offer to its visitors,” he added.
Wizz Air is already the leading airline in the Romanian market having overtaken the capacity offering of national carrier Tarom in 2014. It carried more than 4.5 million people through Romanian airports in 2015 compared with 3.9 million in 2014 and expects to significantly expand on that number this year following a major expansion in the country.
In fact latest data from the airline shows that over the first eight months of the year it carried more than five million passengers to and from Romania having announced 28 new routes between Romania and the rest of Europe, and its first internal route in the country connecting Bucharest with Cluj-Napoca.
The budget carrier made its debut in the Romanian market in July 2006 when it introduced flights to Tirgu Mures from Budapest and now offers flights from ten Romanian destinations comprising, Arad, Bucharest Henri Coanda, Cluj-Napoca, Constana, Craiova, Iasi, Sibiu, Tirgu Mures, Timisoara and also from this year, Suceava.
Its network now comprises 120 routes to 18 countries and by the end of year will have 20 aircraft (including four new 230-seat Airbus A321s) based in Romania, an investment it values at nearly €2 billion and accounts for around a third of all seats available from Romania’s airports.
Our analysis of data from OAG Schedules Analyser shows Wizz Air’s rise in the Romanian international market since its debut in 2006. In 2013 it increased its marketshare of international capacity beyond the 30 percent figure, rising to 33.3 percent in 2014 and 34.6 percent last year: it is scheduled to rise to 35.2 per cent in 2016, based on current published schedules having boosted its own capacity year-on-year before this latest growth by 24.5 per cent.