Central and Eastern European low-cost airline specialist Wizz Air is to resume flights into Africa from the middle of this year as it makes its debut in Morocco. The airline will inaugurate twice weekly flights between Warsaw and Agadir from June 30, 2017, its first scheduled flights into the continent since it served Hurghada in Egypt back in 2014 and 2015.
The Wizz Air network now encompasses 140 airports in 42 countries, but it has been reluctant to expand into Africa. It made its debut on the continent in summer 2009 when its Ukraine business introduced flights between Kiev and both Hurghada and Sharm-el-Sheikh, which operated for three consecutive schedule periods. Latterly, in September 2014, it also operated a weekly flight between Warsaw and Hurghada, also offering flights to the Egyptian leisure destination from Budapest between May and December 2015.
The new service into North Africa is being facilitated by the arrival of a seventh stationed aircraft at the airline’s Chopin Airport base in Warsaw. Wizz Air has recently started two new routes from the Polish capital to Billund in Denmark and Santander in Spain and will launch seven further services in the summer thanks to the additional capacity. This will grow its network to 49 routes across 25 countries.
Located in southern Morocco, Agadir is a popular holiday destination. It is surrounded by the Anti Atlas on the Atlantic coast with many national parks and spacious beaches, which are all within easy reach to the city. It is currently served from Warsaw by charter specialist Travel Service Polska, a sister airline of Czech operator Travel Service Airlines.
Over the past ten years, flag carriers LOT Polish Airlines and Royal Air Maroc and LOT’s low-cost brand Centralwings have all served the Warsaw – Agadir city pair for limited periods. Travel Service Polska first entered the market in December 2013 on a seasonal basis, resuming flights for a longer season in winter 2014/2015. Summer flights commenced from April 2016 through to August 2016 and a winter programme concluded earlier this month.
The new Wizz Air route appears to be the only regular scheduled link into Morocco from the Polish capital, according to schedules data from OAG. Royal Air Maroc had also operated flights between Warsaw and Casablanca between March 2010 and October 2011, according to the intelligence provider.
Wizz Air continues its dramatic network growth and is forecasted to grow its seat capacity 21.7 per cent year-on-year this summer, based on published schedules. It has recently announced or initiated notable growth out of Bosnia-Herzegovina (Tuzla), Romania (Cluj-Napoca and Suceava), Ukraine (Kiev and Lviv) and into Israel (Tel Aviv).
In the past week it has opened a base in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, its 26th, and it has also revealed plans to expand its network into Kazakhstan with the launch of twice weekly flights between Budapest and Astana from June 8, 2017, coinciding with the city’s hosting of the Expo 2017 international exposition.
This summer’s growth will see Wizz Air boost its network capacity beyond the 20 million seat inventory and is forecasted to be its highest rate of growth this decade. Since summer 2000 it has almost trebled its network offering with a growth of 161.5 per cent, including four consecutive years of double-digit year-on-year seasonal growth between 2014 and 2017 and two subsequent years growing at rates beyond 20 per cent.