Monday, September 3, 2012

Wizz Air gears up for EX-YU expansion

Wizz Air sets eyes on former Yugoslavia
Wizz Air has become the first low cost airline with operational basis within the former Yugoslavia. The low cost Hungarian airline plans to open its sixteenth base in Skopje next month and expand services from its base in Belgrade. Furthermore, the no frills carrier will be launching flights to Ljubljana this winter while it continues to pursue the possibility of inaugurating services to Sarajevo. On the back of excellent financial results, Wizz Air has 118 Airbus A320 jets on order and is increasingly focusing on the EX-YU market.

From October 28, Wizz will base an aircraft in the Macedonian capital and launch flights to Eindhoven, Bergamo, Memmingen, Basel Mulhouse, Dortmund and Malmo. In return, the airline has been granted 3.5 million euros in subsidies. However, Wizz Air intends to hire 300 locals and carry 400.000 passengers in its first year of operations. If flights prove successful a new expansion is planned for the summer of 2013 with services to Brussels, Rome and Barcelona being considered. On the other hand, over the next year Wizz Air will boost its presence in Belgrade by basing a second aircraft in the Serbian capital next May and launching four new routes. The airline is tipped to announce additional new flights out of Belgrade next year, namely to Spain. It plans to welcome 500.000 passengers on its Belgrade routes in 2013. Ljubljana will also see Wizz Air flights starting next month, with services to London and Charleroi to be inaugurated.

The low cost airline has attempted to launch flights from Sarajevo. Talks were held with airport authorities earlier this year but failed due to high taxes at Sarajevo Airport. The airport’s managing director, Ivica Veličan said, “We were in negotiations with Wizz Air, however, all of the low cost companies place great demands upon the airport”. Wizz Air receives some form of subsidies from all the airports it operates to in the former Yugoslavia. Veličan further explained that if the airport was to reduce taxes for Wizz Air it would have to do so for all other airlines, which wouldn’t be viable.

The liberalisation of the skies above the former Yugoslavia could see Wizz Air become the first low cost airline to operate flights between former Yugoslav republics within the next ten years, which would undoubtedly cause major competition on routes which are currently operated by a single or two airlines at most.

27 comments:

  1. Any official news on Pegasus Airlines services to Belgrade?

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  2. Ex-Yu - Thank you SO MUCH for removing the dam* captcha for the mobile version of the website!

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  3. When will Wizzair launch a flight from Bergamo (or Verona or wherever from Veneto region) to Belgrade?

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  4. I can only dream one day a low cost airline operating BEG-TGD or SKP-BEG.

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    1. These flights are already low-cost and can go under only if airports lower their taxes...

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    2. I find it hard to believe that you can fly to London from Belgrade for the same price as Podgorica, yet somehow the prices are claimed to be rock-bottom.

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    3. That is because Wizz Air doesn't use all the amenities at airports. In addition to that Wizz Air has a lighter cost structure in comparison to the other airlines operating in those above mentioned markets. All that put together means that yes, they are rock-bottom.

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    4. I mean that the flights from Serbia to montenegro are hardly rock bottom.

      Let Jat have "a tighter cost structure"

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  5. I said it in the other wizz air item, and I'll say it again here:

    I was very much looking forward to the BEG-MLH run as a decent alternative to skywork to Bern (which has gotten very expensive) and JAT and SWISS flying to Zurich. I was hoping this line might put some downward pressure on the price of the incumbents.

    However, the arrival time at Basel is awful!!!

    Tuesdays and Thursdays the flight lands a mere 30 mins before the last possible rail connection to western Switzerland (Lausanne, Geneva). Maybe this would be possible if you have no luggage, but I'd hate to risk it.

    Saturdays, you have a connection 35 minutes after landing and another one 1hr and 35 mins. This means, you get into Geneva around 2:30am.

    All in all, not a good alternative to what's already offered and I don't see this putting much pressure on the incumbents

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    1. You are right, but that is only until the 2nd aircraft arrives. From June next year flight times are changing and departure from BEG will be at 15:00. So if you land at 16:55, you will have plenty of time for further connections.

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    2. Sure would be nice if they moved it all 30 mins. I can't be the only one who doesn't have someone picking me up on the other side.

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    3. Oh, no :( Doot, thanks for doing the math. I was really looking forward to this one, but it seems I'm stuck with Jat's evening flights from Zurich and whining about GVA-BEG flights...
      Cheers from Lausanne!

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    4. I love flying skywork out of Bern.

      You need to get there only 30 mins before your flight. That easily makes up for the 30 mins longer flying time. Plus, the train to Bern is much faster than the train to Zurich.

      Too bad their prices are so high.

      I flew them last month and LF was less than 20%

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  6. Will be interesting to see how financially solvent Wizz is after it's done repaying all it's state aid to Timisoara and Tirgu Mures...

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  7. And those lowcost airlines will kill the small national ones over there someday

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  8. I thought BEG does not subsidise any airline, is this true? Does Wizz use the airbridges at BEG? Does Jat receive any special treatment?

    -- Charlie

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    1. No, Belgrade does not provide airlines with subsidies. All it gives is reduced charges for the first 6 months of flights.

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    2. Twice shorter ground handling service for WizzAir planes perhaps? :)

      About financials, think that's something nobody can know for sure.

      One OT concerning BEG though - just yesterday realised that BEG is a sponsor of KK Radnicki Kragujevac. How on earth does it make sense for 100% monopolist public enterprise (in terms of Serbian market) to sponsor basketball club from Kragujevac!? Besides the fact that Mr. Dinkic is a president of that club of course...

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    3. CEO of Belgrade Airport is from G17 party. I think you have your answer.

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    4. Not only that but the CEO is actually from Kragujevac

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    5. CEO of Belgrade Airport is from Belgrade and his wife is from Valjevo.

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  9. it's disappointing that they didn't introduce MAD-BEG or BEG-BCN flights. The Spanair planes were nearly full all the time before they cased operating.

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    1. Not much Serbians in Spain in comparison to Romanians and Bulgarians for example. GRO will remain the only seasonal option for the moment - doubt if it goes all-year.

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  10. Yeah, second aircraft is coming for a year now, still nothing. And they didn't base an aircraft here, anyway. There were some nice delays because of that, for example 9 hours delay and you get 9 GBP voucher you can use (for the whole day, funny)... Bad pilots from JAT, Aviogenex, Montenegro and cadet pilots with fake flight hours, cabin crew robots coming from trashy Emirates' training and boutiques of Belgrade... No thanks.

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    1. People might bitch about Jat but at least they take care of you when there is a delay or a cancellation.
      Yes, Wizz Air might be cheaper but it is riskier to fly on in case there is a cancellation.

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  11. It is unbelievable how Wizz was practically kicked out of Sarajevo even before they came! Why does director Velican not understand that lowering airport taxes will mean MORE people landing, MORE people shopping at the Airport and in the end MORE profit???

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