Wizz Air plans to base an additional two aircraft in the former Yugoslavia, add at least thirteen new routes and offer over two million seats for sale from the region next summer. Furthermore, it will enter the Kosovan market and operate its first flights to Sarajevo and Osijek as well. The carrier’s expansion is set to begin in Tuzla next March with the stationing of a second Airbus A320 in the city and the launch of flights to Bratislava, Cologne, Friedrichshafen, Nuremberg and Vaxjo in southern Sweden. The new routes represent a 96 million dollar investment on Wizz Air's behalf into Tuzla and the creation of a further 36 local jobs. Meanwhile, the new aircraft will allow Wizz Air to increase the number of weekly flights on existing routes from Tuzla to Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Malmo and Frankfurt Hahn. Similarly, in Belgrade, the no frills carrier will base a second jet from mid-May, which will see the introduction of flights to Friedrichshafen, Nuremberg, Hannover and Malta. All will operate on a year-round basis. In addition, it will boost frequencies on services to Dortmund, Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Memmingen and Stockholm Skavsta by adding an extra weekly flight. As a result, Wizz will offer 642.000 seats from the Serbian capital in 2017.
Wizz Air has secured a public service obligation contract with the Hungarian government to operate flights from Budapest to Sarajevo, Pristina, Skopje and Podgorica starting next April. Currently, the airline does not fly to either Sarajevo or Pristina but has been engaged in drawn-out negotiations with both over the past year. Despite the new flights from Budapest, which will be funded by the Hungarian government, plans to establish additional routes from Sarajevo and Pristina are yet to materialise. Speaking at a new conference last week, Wizz Air's Chief Commercial Officer, George Michalopoulos, said the carrier was "in continued discussions with Pristina Airport over new routes". "Hopefully this is just the start", Mr Michalopoulos noted. Balazs Bogats, the Head of Airline Development at Budapest Airport is confident in the success of the new routes. “Wizz Air’s latest announcement will connect us to a number of white spots on our route map. Hungary has always enjoyed a good relationship with the Balkans so it has been very important for us to add these destinations to our network. Working closely with our largest airline partner, we look forward to ensuring the success of each and every one of these routes”.
Skopje Airport continues to maintain its position as the low cost airline’s largest base in the former Yugoslavia where it handles over half a million passengers per year and has three aircraft stationed in the city. While Wizz Air will add flights from Budapest to Skopje next year, there are reports that the airline may also base a fourth aircraft in the capital. However, neither the airline nor the airport have confirmed such plans yet. The Macedonian government is expected to offer fresh subsidies for new routes, which Wizz Air could see as an opportunity to further expand its network from the country.
The low cost airline announced plans this week to introduce services from Osijek, its second destination in Croatia. The carrier will maintain flights from Basel to the Croatian city, with additional new routes possible. Wizz has been lagging behind its competition in the country with a very limited seasonal network. Wizz Air’s CEO, Jozsef Varadi, recently said, “Croatia is very expensive. Nevertheless, we have continued discussions with a number of airports at the same time, so hopefully, at one point, we can go there [Croatia]. I think the market is good”. This year, the airline introduced services from Warsaw to Split, complementing its existing seasonal operations from London to the seaside city. Next year, Wizz Air will strengthen its Warsaw - Split service, with flights to start in June instead of August and operate with the larger Airbus A321 aircraft instead of the A320.
|Tuzla - Bratislava||27.03.2017|
|Tuzla - Cologne||27.03.2017|
|Tuzla - Friedrichshafen||27.03.2017|
|Tuzla - Vaxjo||28.03.2017|
|Budapest - Skopje||02.04.2017|
|Budapest - Podgorica||03.04.2017|
|Budapest - Sarajevo||05.04.2017|
|Budapest - Pristina||07.04.2017|
|Basel - Osijek||19.05.2017|
|Belgrade - Friedrichshafen||19.05.2017|
|Belgrade - Nuremberg||19.05.2017|
|Belgrade - Hannover||20.05.2017|
|Belgrade - Malta||21.05.2017|