Wizz Air has announced a further 11 routes, only one of which has been served previously. It follows multiple other new routes recently, especially to Saudi Arabia. However, it comes as it cuts elsewhere.
Like Cardiff, its Palermo base – opened last June – is to close during the winter, while the ultra-low-cost carrier ends temporarily or permanently removes routes elsewhere.
Wizz Air has only operated one before (London Luton to Łódź), between September 2011 and May 2013. However, it had very time-limited London Luton to Bydgoszcz flights in 2015 solely due to Gdansk’s runway works, so it doesn’t count. Indeed, both Polish airports aren’t currently served by the ULCC.
All but one of the 11 are simple there-and-back operations as they involve bases. The exception is Athens to Tel Aviv. As neither airport is a Wizz Air base, it’ll operate it using Albania-based aircraft and crew, routing Tirana-Athens-Tel Aviv-Athens-Tirana. It’s a so-called ‘W’ routing.
Unusually for Wizz Air, nine of the routes are served by others (i.e., they have direct competition) – often with multiple others. Look at Athens-Tel Aviv. When Wizz Air starts, it’ll be the sixth airline on it. As is typical for airlines, its entry was partly driven by the exit of another – in this case, Ryanair, which served it between May 2019 and September 2021. Will Wizz be able to do better on it than Ryanair?
The biggest standout is Rome Fiumicino. The airport became a Wizz Air base in July last year, and it only has A321neos stationed there.
Fiumicino has grown so quickly for the ULCC that it’ll be its fifth-largest airport next April, by which time all the new services will be operational. Most notably, these include Paris Orly, an airport at which it is notoriously hard to secure slots. It’ll be its third Orly route, joining Budapest and Warsaw.
Adding Łódź and Bydgoszcz brings to 12 Wizz Air’s Polish network. In alphabetical order: Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Lublin, Olsztyn-Mazury, Poznan, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Warsaw Chopin, and Wrocław. It’ll now serve one more Polish airport than airports in Romania.
Łódź is Poland’s third-largest city but has the unfortunate geographic position of being close to Warsaw, reducing the amount of airline service it would otherwise have. Undoubtedly, Łódź‘s management has spent years trying to attract back Wizz Air. Now it’s returning.
And as ULCCs rarely have one route from an airport – unless fees and charges aren’t conducive to growth – it’ll be great to see how Wizz Air develops in Łódź and Bydgoszcz.