Wizz Air Targets Turkish Expansion

New routes are being launched from Hungary, Romania, the United Arab Emirates and the UK, including the airline’s first flights to Istanbul Airport.

Credit: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters/Alamy

Wizz Air is increasing service to Turkey during the northern summer 2023 season, targeting leisure destinations Antalya and Dalaman, as well as the country’s main international gateway Istanbul.

Four new routes are being launched from the UK, alongside three from Romania, three from Hungary and one from the United Arab Emirates. The latest network additions coincide with Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s inaugural flight to Turkey on Jan. 19.

London Gatwick (LGW) will see three new routes, with a 4X-weekly service to Antalya (AYT) commencing on March 26 followed by daily flights to Istanbul Airport (IST) two days later. Operations to Dalaman (DLM) will begin on May 23, flying four times per week.

A fourth UK route is also being opened from London Luton (LTN), connecting the airport with Istanbul on a daily basis from March 26. The ULCC already operated two round trips per week to both Antalya and Dalaman during summer 2022 and plans to provide the same service during the 2023 summer season.

From Romania, flights between Iasi (IAS) and Istanbul will be inaugurated on April 4, and to Antalya from Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) and Bucharest (OTP) will commence on May 18 and May 19, respectively. All three routes will receive three flights per week.

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Two routes will launch from Hungary’s capital Budapest (BUD), with Wizz flying daily to Istanbul from March 31 and 3X-weekly to Antalya from May 24, while Debrecen (DEB)-Antalya flights start on June 10, operating 2X-weekly.

Fresh from opening a route between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Ankara (ESB)—Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s first to Turkey—the ULCC also plans to begin serving Antalya three times per week from June 1.

The 11 new routes will see Wizz and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi offering a combined 54 flights per week to destinations in Turkey during the peak summer season, compared with just 4 services per week in summer 2022.

Wizz last served the Istanbul market six years ago, when it operated flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) from Budapest. However, operations ended in October 2016 and the city has remained absent from its network ever since.

The arrival of Wizz represents a win for Istanbul Airport, which has been working hard to attract low-cost flights to European destinations. At the present time, Transavia.com France is the sole international low-cost operator offering Istanbul-Europe service, flying from Nantes (NTE) and Paris Orly (ORY).