Saturday, May 27, 2017

Wizz Air sees Serbia growth potential


Low cost carrier Wizz Air says it sees potential for further growth in Serbia, both from Belgrade and secondary airports in the country. Following the launch of four new routes from the Serbian capital last week, the airline will offer over 835.000 seats for sale from Belgrade and Niš this year to twenty destinations, representing an increase in capacity of 39% compared to 2016. "We are seeking to democratise air travel in Serbia which is dominated by legacy carriers that account for a market share of 82% based on seat capacity. We have good collaboration with Belgrade Airport and we are always ready to adjust our offer according to our passenger demands. Seeing the request in the market, we have already doubled our resources in Serbia. We hope to contribute to Belgrade Airport in reaching its goal of handling 5.5 million passengers this year. We are also looking optimistic to the future to explore new opportunities in Belgrade", Wizz Air's Sorina Ratz told EX-YU Aviation News.

Wizz Air's CEO, Jozsef Varadi, recently noted that there is a strong possibility for the no frills airline to open its second base in the country at Niš Constantine the Great Airport. "That is an option for us. We are new there and we are happy with the results so far. If growth trends in Niš continue, we will base an aircraft there too", Mr Varadi said. He added that the airline also sees potential in other airports in the country such as those in Kraljevo and Užice, both of which boast new terminal buildings but still require runway lengthening. According to Wizz Air's CEO, the airline is continuing to monitor the development of these airports.

During the first four months of the year, Wizz Air handled almost 190.000 passengers to and from Serbia, representing a year-on-year increase of 27%. It currently holds the biggest market share in the country among low cost airlines, amounting to 62.3%. It is followed by Ryanair in a distant second place with a 12.3% share, then Norwegian Air Shuttle with 6.4%, Pegasus Airlines with 6.3%, easyJet with 4.5%, Flydubai with 4.3% and Transavia with a market share of 4%. In 2016, the airline carried 545.000 passengers from Serbia, representing an increase of 19% compared to the year before. It marked its best ever result in the country, overtaking its previous record in 2013. Figures declined during the two subsequent years as Wizz scaled back its operations from Belgrade Airport due to a hike in fees.

89 comments:

  1. I think the next thing they will do is base a plane in Niš or at least open new routes.

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    1. I was thinking the same. They might base an aircraft next March 2018 as they traditionally do every year. If BEG can handle 5+ million, then INI can easily reach 2 million by 2020.

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    2. They can't reach 2 million by 2020.

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    3. I think a million is more likely by 2020 and that would be a big strech too.

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    4. With a base aircraft Niš-Nuremberg should be possible 2w.

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    5. Opening a base at INI could have another benefit for them. Their costs would be lower there than in Belgrade meaning that some flights to BEG could be operated by the plane and the crew based in Nis.

      INI-XYZ-BEG-XYZ-INI

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    6. They are running out of obvious routes to launch. Eventually the rapid growth phase will run out and growth will continue at a much slower pace.

      Also right now I think they can only serve 2 planes at once (somebody correct me if I am wrong). That will need to be solved very soon.


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  2. This is a good signal for the government to get its act togeather and do something about those two ghost airports.

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  3. Except for Spain, what other routes are really left for them to add from BEG?

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    1. I guess they could eventually return to Norway and Belgium.

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    2. I agree with Nemjee. Plus I think Bratislava could work as a substitute for Vienna. There is a growing diaspora living in Slovakia which could use the flights too.

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    3. BTS, LYS (many Serbs live there), CRL (though Brussels never was so attractive as a destination), NYO, TLV (already connected to many cities in CEE) and domestic BEG-INI daily.

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    4. BTS could be tricky from 01.01.2018 as VIE plans to halve its charges.That will reduce BTS's competitive advantage.

      Maybe W6 could look at some secondary Austrian destination.

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    5. @Nemje

      But even with that move, VIE will still be expensive, so don't expect any radical change

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    6. Next month they will begin to fly lyon - Varsaw. That's their first route from Lyon so maybe they will also consider flight to serbia and romania from there

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    7. Nemje, is this confirmed for VIE? That would be a be significant move. Fees were the big issue for new routes, particularly to/from low yielding markets.
      Is Austrian keeping the fleet of Q400 ?

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    8. What they could do is get the freaking Serbian AOC, pay taxes there, start Moscow, Kiev, Eilat, Kutaisi, Spain...

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    9. Kutaisi and Eilat? Who would fly there?

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    10. Wizz Air isn't paying taxes in Hungary despite having their AOC, so don't keep the hopes up if they ever get a Serbian one.

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    11. Well, that's one reason more to get it.

      @4:41PM - Same people flying to Tel Aviv or those on Arkia, or the ones flying to Kutaisi from Budapest, Warsaw, Sofia...

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    12. Except that Kutaisi-Sofia route was abandoned due to low loads...

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    13. Kutaisi-Sofia route was abondened due to the fact that the visas for Georgian citizens to EU were supossed to be dropped, but it didn't happen which made only Bulgarians to use this route...

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    14. Namjee: Where do you get that from that VIE will cut taxes into half??

      Maybe you are referring to 50% cut of the Austrian air passenger tax? It is now 7 EUR per person for intra european flights and will be 3,50 EUR from next year.

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    15. Kutaisi-Thessaloniki wasn't and regardless that argument has got nothing to do with Belgrade.

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  4. I think it's good that they are using their second A320 to increase frequencies to destinations they already serve. Hopefully we won't have to wait long before destinations such as MMX or EIN are served on a daily basis.

    Given the success of various lowcost carriers in Belgrade, I am sure Ryanair is keeping track of all the developments. I think it's a matter of time before they announce their own flights.
    What puzzles me is how difficult it was for easyJet to position itself on the local market.

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    1. Yeah what's the story with Easyjet? I mean Ryanair has been flying to Serbia for less than a year and in the article it says they are second by market share. Well ahead of easy. Even Norwegian and Pegasus are ahead.

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    2. +1
      At least GVA seems to be doing well for them.

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    3. Yes they managed to outlast Swiss and Etihad Regional on the Geneva route.

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    4. I think it's because they are really, really strong in GVA. They even managed to crush LX there.

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  5. It would be cool if they added a new or few new routes from Ljubljana too

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    1. +1
      At least they are increasing capacity, it's a positive development

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  6. Great news for Serbia, bad news for Air Serbia!

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    1. Who cares about JU! What matters are the interests of the Serbian customer.

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    2. Company and party trolls care a great deal about it and call hater anyone who disagrees with them.

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    3. +1
      Lets all hope that they will not try to "protect" them by making to difficult for LCCs to come here and lower the cost of travel.
      I have never seen so many tourists in the streets of Belgrade and cheap tickets by LCC airlines is the reason for them.

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    4. The government can't do anything as far as EU LCCs go. We signed the Open Skies agreement so everyone is welcome.

      Naturally, some people who work for JU (especially the CEO) would love if it was like in the 1970s.

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    5. They can make the airports very hostile to LCCs by denying them slots, the ability to let passengers walk from gate to aircraft, make the fees expensive and offer discounts that realistically can only apply to Ar Serbia etc.
      Also in INI they can just keep postponing the expansion of the terminal building and the construction of more gates and baggage claim facilities to stop it from growing further and taking passengers away from BEG and ASL.

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    6. And they have done absolutely none of that.

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    7. They have at both BEG and INI.
      In BEG by keeping fees high and having an incentive plan that only JU can get.

      In INI after years of keeping the airport closed and forcing everyone to travel through BEG and now they are neglecting its massive need for expansion.

      They would like for the 80s to come back instead of looking at the examples of BUD and SOF on how to develop their travel and tourist industries.

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    8. Take a look at photos of INI and how much work on upgrading the airport is being done there at the moment. It is the government that has turned INI into LCC heaven, approved cheap taxes, approved funds for building overhaul taking place now. They will start to expand the terminal from next year. You seem to be thinking that money grows on trees. INI just started developing less than 2 years ago so no one is neglecting them as you claim.

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  7. ВEG-INI 2 daily with Wizz could work,like Sofia - Varna. With price ~25 €

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    1. JU should have started flights with the ATR two years ago.
      But they were focused on 15€ a flight Wi-Fly and metal cutlery...

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    2. The distance between Sofia and Varna is 500 km and there is almost no highway between them (only 150 km of highway) which takes around 4-5 hours to travel. That it is why it is working. Probably next year they will go to double-daily on this route

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    3. Yes but this route is not only leisure but business too. Even with the construction of the highway, there still will be many flights. FB relies on transfer while W6 on both leisure + business.
      So, JU and W6, please read our comments and help Serbia develop :)

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    4. BEG-INI is 2h by car, if you keep to the speed limit. How much does it take to clear security, wait for the flight, boarding, taxi, de-icing, ..... Plus you have to adjust your schedule to the schedule of the flight. I don't know any company who would operate an A320 on a 111 nm great circle route over the continent between two cities in the same country (no borders), connected by a highway.

      Some people here need a bit of a reality check sometimes...

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    5. There is AMS-BRU or what about one of the domestic UK routes from London? Or DUB-CRK?

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    6. Distance should not be a barrier. Just imagine BEG the capital of the north and INI of the south. No reason why the flights could not work between both cities, this is a common practice in many countries linking bigger cties, what's the problem?

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    7. I would honestly advocate for Serbia to run a PSO between BEG and INI for one season just to show how crazy idea this is. And to make tickets cheap - say, 60 EUR for a return flight, as is the case with BNX. Have an open competition for that PSO and publish the LF after six months.

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    8. @3:15

      INI is not a "bigger city", not in terms of population, and even less when it comes to GDP per capita.

      They only way this route becomes viable is if there is:

      1) Enough pax from INI region connecting onto any gives bank of JU departures from BEG to fill a plane, and;

      2) Willing to take a connecting flight to BEG for a premium of at least 60-70 euros.

      I don't see that happening, honestly.

      And don't get us started on O&D - no one's going to fly just to get to Belgrade/Niš, it will take considerably more time than taking a car or even a bus, and it will be more expensive.

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    9. Comparing BEG-INI to AMS-BRU. Right. Now take a step back and compare the average salary and number of people living in those areas.

      Who's flying Dublin-Cork? Couldn't find any direct flights. And the shortest route in England I could find is Gatwick-Conrwall or Stansted-Newcastle and that is at least 4,5 hours by car. And neither route is operated by A320 nor can you compare the GDP of UK to the one of Serbia.

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    10. So now we are talking about the GDP because your distance argument no longer stays?

      Belavia flies between Vilnius and Minsk and those two are only 187 km apart. Both countries have a GDP similar to that of Serbia.

      Also, there are numerous flights between HEL and TLL despite there being numerous ferry boats.

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    11. BEG - TIV should be their focus. They would kill both JU and YM.

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    12. Belavia is not a run-for-profit airline. Good luck trying to find any kind of financial information.

      Second, TLL/RIX routes from Finland require a ferry and a lot of demands comes from Finnish and people going for cheap partying in the Baltic states. No ferries between BEG and INI and no drastic difference in alcohol price either.

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    13. Citta@ No, on this route can fly only carrier from Serbia or Montenegro

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    14. Belavia which is not ran fun for profit is ran much better than Air Serbia which is 'run for profit'.

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    15. I am sorry, but still disagree, yet respect your opinions. There is no reason why INI cannot be connected to BEG. Not everyone does the bus or car, some business men prefer flying. Also JU will be adding a big city to its network feeding NYC for example.
      As for W6, it will be O&D travel, can also compete with JU.

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    16. "Business men", or anybody else for that matter, prefers comfort and speed over the lack thereof.

      BEG-INI via air is not faster nor cheaper than taking a car or a bus. It does beat train as regards time, but that's only because trains in Serbia are slower today than in the 1900s.

      The trick is, INI resident already feed JU's JFK route (or any other). They just arrive to BEG by car. And now, they can also have a one stop flight to the US or many more destinations via ZRH.

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    17. Austrian Airlines flies between BUD and VIE. The distance between the two is 240 km so less than Belgrade-Nish.

      Belavia also flies between BEG and BUD.

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    18. The ONLY reason why anyone operates such a short route is connecting flights, period. Therefore, the question is - are there enough pax to fill the plane from BEG to INI and vice versa at a premium, who will connect to JU network.

      I would guess no, as no one ever seriously considered introducing those flights. They are not in INI hating business, but rather in money making business. If someone introduces subsidies - be it the state or INI, they'll fly for sure. They'll take pax for free is the amount of subsidy is right.

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  8. Legacy carriers 82%?! Wtf?! This is a HUGE percent! Serbians should be allowed to have a wider choice. I am hoping to see more leisure destinations and not only gasterbeiter ones (not that this is a bad thing).
    We have repeated this so many times, but why is Serbia not properly connected to Spain???? Only VY operates a crappy, seasonal flight BEG-BCN with ungodly hours. How about MAD, PMI, Canary Islands, AGP, SVQ?
    By the end of the year Ryanair will offer connecting flights via MAD to both Americas in collaboration with UX. Hoping at least INI can receive 2 flights per week to MAD.

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  9. OT: Today BEG - JFK 6 bussines/ 204 economy

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    1. What is the structure O&D vs. transit?

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    2. ~40% O&D, many young people

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    3. OT#2 Thursday,25thMay, Airplane B753-300
      IZ387 TLV-BEG 233 PAX;
      IZ388 BEG-TLV 254 PAX.

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    4. I am not surprised about Arkia, Ramadan just started so many are going on holidays

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    5. British from London to Zagreb yesterday and today with A321, almost full!

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    6. I am not surprised about BA to ZAG. OU has been drawn through mud after the slot sale. I am sure many have already switched to BA, more frequencies, nicer planes and a superior onboard product.

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    7. Really? Superior onboard product of Heathrow Airways like Ryanair?

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    8. What does Ramadan have to do with Jewish tourists???? Second, Muslims do not like to travel during Ramadan...

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    9. Well, Ramadan started yesterday so many Israelis and Jews are using the opportunity to travel. It's a holiday over there.

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    10. No, it's not holiday over there lol

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    11. FCO-BEG tonight on YU-APA, economy class 100% full

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  10. Belgrade DO NOT NEED Wizz or Ryan, but more legacy carriers such BA, AFR, KLM, SAS ... and then maybe we can speak about base for Easy or Norw. Air Sh.

    ATCO

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    1. All those carriers sadly left. I think BEG now relies on JU and Asian connections. I am also sad about Air Baltic, TAP, Ural. The Serbian customer wants to pay less just like any normal consumer so legacy carriers are slowly fading.

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    2. How many Serbians can afford flying with BA/AF/KL/SK and how many with W6/FR?

      There goes your answer...

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    3. Sure many can, but there is still a market for people who either prefer to pay less or simply can't afford to pay 500 EUR for a plane ticket. Should such people be denied flying?

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    4. Yes, flying is a privilege, not a right.

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  11. U svim delatnostima mora da postoji izbor. Tako i u vazdusnom prevozu. Neophodnni su legacy avio prevoznici. Isto kao i LCC prevozioci. Ko sa kime moze i zeli sa time ce i putovati. Tako je i ovde u Australiji. Pa nije moguce monopol ni u Srbiji. Ako je u Srbiji slobodno trziste. Slobodan izbor prema mogucnosti... Gde je slobodan izbor, tu je i slobodna zemlja i njeni ljudi da mogu da biraju izmedju skupljeg i jeftinijeg.
    Jeli tako i u Srbiji?. Nadam se da se ide u tom pravcu. Pravcu demonopolizacije. Monopol je u recimo SEVERNOJ Koreji...
    Pozdrav iz Sidneja.
    Rodney Marinkovic
    Home of Qantasville I.
    Kings Park NSW.
    Sydney AUSTRALIA

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  12. Wizz is getting ready to base third aircraft at BEG. Belgrade airport could use recent renovations and planned upgrade of old A gates to increase fees.

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    1. Where you got that from?

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    2. Completely wrong information, there are no such plans.

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    3. My bad, not in 2017. Third and fourth aeroplane in 2018/2019.

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    4. Routes? Source?

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    5. Source is on www.politika.rs

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