Wizz Air has revealed plans to expand its presence at London Luton, less than six months after opening a base at the airport.
The Hungarian low-cost carrier will add four Airbus A320 aircraft to its Luton base by June 2018, taking its fleet at the airport to five.
As a result of the expansion, it will launch daily flights to Larnaca in Cyprus and Bratislava in Slovakia, plus four flights per week to Tallinn in Estonia and three flights per week to Tirana in Albania and Lviv in Ukraine.
It will also increase the frequency of flights on three of its most popular routes. Starting spring 2018 flights to Tel Aviv and Suceava become daily and Prishtina flights will increase from two to three times per week.
The announcement comes just weeks after Wizz Air’s chief executive József Váradi said the airline hoped to have up to seven aircraft based at Luton within the next two years as it seeks to mitigate the potential impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Speaking to Routesonline, chief corporate officer Owain Jones said the expansion was part of a longer-term strategy, rather than a reaction to Monarch’s insolvency.
“Luton has always been a very strong location for us,” he said. “If you look at Monarch, we had virtually no overlap with them. This is part of our ongoing business development in the UK – it reflects the importance of our operations at Luton.”
Wizz Air's top ten routes from London Luton in 2017 by departure seats:
|Warsaw Frederic Chopin (WAW)||256440|
|Bucharest Henri Coanda (OTP)||221720|
|Gdansk Lech Walesa (GDN)||178690|
|Poznan Lawica (POZ)||99360|
Over the past 12 months, the airline has carried more than 5.5 million passengers on its Luton routes alone, an increase of 11 percent compared to 2016. In 2018 it will offer more than 6.9 million seats on its 46 routes from Luton to 20 countries.
Jones said further route development from Luton would mainly focus on Central and Eastern Europe: “It’s a very strong area in terms of economic growth and underserved by high-quality low-priced airlines despite strong demand.”
Earlier this month, Wizz Air signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for a further 146 Airbus A320neo family aircraft (72 A320neo and 74 A321neo). While deliveries will start in 2022, the bulk of the aircraft will be delivered in 2025 and 2026, following on from the delivery of the 110 Airbus A321neo aircraft ordered by Wizz Air in 2015.