Wizz Air marches on into EX-YU market
Wizz Air is continuing to eye new destinations within the former Yugoslavia with Ohrid being the latest point of interest. The low cost airline held talks with city and airport authorities regarding the possible launch of flights from the lake side town, which could attract both diaspora passengers and holiday makers. Mayor Nikola Bakračeski says local authorities are prepared to provide subsidies to the airline for it to launch flights, which would in turn fuel local business and tourism. Wizz Air sees potential in Ohrid as an average of 30% of passengers using Skopje Airport come from south west Macedonia, where Ohrid is located.
Wizz Air has identified northern Italy, Switzerland and Germany as potential destinations from Ohrid. Furthermore, the airline believes it could attract passengers from Albania as well due to the town’s close proximity to the Albanian border. Ohrid Airport is currently served only on a seasonal summer basis by Jat Airways with flights from Belgrade and Jetairfly from Brussels. Wizz Air recently announced flights from Tuzla and already has two hubs within the former Yugoslavia - in Belgrade and Skopje. Wizz Air has a sizable order for 92 Airbus A320s with the airline looking to deploy the aircraft across Central and Eastern Europe in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Sarajevo Airport and Wizz Air are planning to go back to the negotiating table after talks between the two sides collapsed last year. Sarajevo Airport is unwilling to lower its taxes, a key demand made by the low cost airline. “We are negotiating with Wizz Air because we believe that the airline could link us with European destinations such as London and Brussels. We held thorough talks in 2012 and we have not given up. Upon Wizz Air’s request we resumed talks on March 12 in order to reach a compromise and for Wizz Air to launch flights from Sarajevo in 2013”, Vedrana Vikić Musić, the head of Sarajevo’s Aviation Services Sales Office says.