Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wizz Air begins Macedonia expansion


Low cost carrier Wizz Air has begun expanding its operations in Macedonia by adding capacity prior to introducing new destinations later on in the year. The airline yesterday replaced the first of its four Airbus A320 aircraft based in Skopje with the larger 230-seat A321 jet. The aircraft that has been stationed in the Macedonian capital is just two weeks old. This will be followed up with the replacement of a second A320 with the A321 on June 16. The two will be deployed on a number of routes from Skopje including Berlin, Beauvais, Bratislava, Cologne, Eindhoven, Friedrichshafen, Gothenburg, Hahn, Hamburg, Hannover, Malmo, Memmingen, Nuremberg and Rome. Together, they will operate a total of 42 flights per week. As a result, Wizz Air is increasing its capacity from Macedonia by 23% this year when compared to 2017, offering 1.6 million seats for sale from Skopje and Ohrid.


Wizz Air's Acting Head of Corporate Communications, Sorina Ratz, said, “We are thrilled to celebrate the first commercial flight of our first Skopje-based A321 aircraft, the most efficient single-aisle passenger aircraft in the sky. It allows us to allocate more capacity on the most popular Wizz routes, while offering the lowest possible fares. We stay committed to our Macedonian customers and their visitors and keep on bringing opportunities through affordable travel to the country”. Wizz Air has been operating the A321s since November 2015 and currently has 28 of the type in its fleet, with a further thirteen on order. Furthermore, the carrier has an additional 184 of the more fuel-efficient A321neo jets on order, which are to be delivered between 2019 and 2026. The deployment of the A321s to Skopje, which boast an extra fifty seats compared to the A320 frames, further demonstrates Skopje's importance within Wizz Air's network, as well as the strong demand the airline has seen on the Macedonian market. This November, the carrier will introduce new flights between Vienna and Ohrid and upgrade its seasonal operations from Ohrid to London Luton to year round operations. Furthermore, the airline recently improved its offering between Skopje and Milan, with services now running to Malpensa International Airport instead of Bergamo.

Wizz said that the stationing of the two A321s in Skopje represents a natural development following several years of strong growth on the Macedonian market. "Wizz Air’s first Skopje flight took off in 2011 and since then, the airline has become the leading carrier at Skopje Airport. In the first four months of 2018, Wizz carried more than 360.000 passengers on its low fare routes to and from Macedonia, which represents a 21% growth year over year. Throughout the country, Wizz Air’s operations this year will support more than 750 jobs in associated industries", the company said. It previously noted that the biggest benefit of the A321 for passengers is the lower fares the airline can offer as result of its greater efficiency versus the A320s.

106 comments:

  1. Nice of them to send a brand new plane!

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  2. There is no doubt now that Skopje will have over 2 million passengers this year.

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    1. I think it will surpass Pristina this year. The difference is already wide.

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    2. I think 2.1 or 2.2 is extremely realistic. Wizz Air alone can boost numbers by 10% at the airport and then add to that LO and others and voila.

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    3. if they have zero growth from now til the end of the year they will have 960k. now do some math ;)

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    4. actually PRN numbers for April shocked us :D

      the "race" is stil open imho

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    5. JAN - APR

      SKP - 608.511
      PRN - 595.866

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    6. Growth so far this year

      SKP - +21,3%
      PRN - +12,5%

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    7. big growth for SKP this year

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  3. What is happening with the LCC tender the government said they would start? First they said in April, then in May, now it's almost June and still nothing.

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    1. well it will be published in June. you have an official statement from the ministry regarding this.

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    2. Do you know how long the process lasts? I mean the tender?

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    3. i think 3 years

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    4. I mean how long will it take from when they start tender procedures to announcing who has won the tender? I can't remember how long it took last time.

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  4. Ticket prices are always cheaper on A321, such a great plane for lo-co airlines. And seat pitch is not so scary for me being 180, for 2-3h flights it is survivable. Just love Wizz A321s. Cant wait for them to hit VIE INI.

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    1. Wizz already sells some tickets below fuel cost for A320 routes, so the claim Wizz can offer cheaper tickets because of A321 fuel efficiency is a lie. Fuel consumption per seat for A320 is known, route distance is known, price of fuel is generally known so you can check the math yourself. When you then add other costs from insurance, NAV charges, airport taxes, airplane lease, crew cost etc it's easy to see Wizz (FR too) dumps a number of tickets regardless of aircraft fuel efficiency.

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    2. 9:29 post is incorrect.

      Ticket prices with both W6 and FR are tied to demand, not costs. There is a case for setting the minimum above marginal (incremental) cost (read ap pax charges), which none of the above are included.

      So, to simplify: yes, increased capacity brings lower fares when they are demand driven, like in this case, since it increases the supply.

      First hand account obviously :)

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    3. You just said W6 ticket prices are not tied to costs. In last sentence of the article Wizz claims ticket prices will be lower because of fuel efficiency, meaning lower cost. We both agree it is not because of cost but increased supply. Thank you for confirming that last sentence in the article was in fact incorrect.

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    4. Ah, glorious PR. :)

      Good point. It might still be true though, only indirectly. Lower costs mean higher profitability, leading to targets being hit more easily, leading to incremental capacity being deployed more easily. Tad convoluted yet not indefensible. Good catch in any case.

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    5. Well, it is true LCCs sell very cheap tickets for the first couple of seats. But so do other airlines...

      Accusing LCCs of dumping is a slippery slope. Sure, selling tickets for 2 hour flight for 5 EUR is probably not covering all the costs, but at the end of the year they seem to cover all the costs. And not only that, they tend to make quite a lot of profit.

      On the other hand, especially in exyu where it is a national shame if you don't have a state owned carrier, passengers have to pay hundreds of EUR for tickets and at the end of the day, the government has to put substantial amount of funds to even keep the operation running.

      Surely it's difficult accuse somebody of dumping if they make hundreds of millions of EUR profit at the end of the year?

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    6. Da li ti zaista mislis da oni zaradjuju dovoljno da pokriju lizing novih A321 iz Skoplja? Cak i sa proizvodjackim popustom. Ceo biznis ULCC zivi od pranja novca.

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    7. If you look that way 90% of airlines are money laundering schemes and whole airline industry is pure gambling.

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    8. @anon 1.05

      haha conspiracy theorists rule!

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  5. I think its high time for Wizz to announce second destination in UK from Skopje considering how many Macedonians went to work with Bulgarian passports in UK. 2 X Lisbon, 2 X Madrid and 2 X Catania will not hurt too.

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    1. Would there really be enough demand to Lisbon? Although I'm surprised Barcelona has done so well for them from SKP too.

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    2. I'm more surprised at how well Budapest - Skopje has been performing. It's operated by A321.

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    3. I would imagine Lisbon will work similar to Barcelona, 2 x weekly can sustain organically knowing that the catchment area is Macedonia, Albania, Serbia (and Kosovo), little bit of Bulgaria and Northern Greece

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    4. What about Vienna-Skopje? Any chance of them starting this route. I know they fly to Bratislava at the moment and that they are starting Vienna-Ohrid. I find it odd that they didn't go for Skopje instead.

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    5. They launched SOF-LIS, last March. I think SKP can get a flight soon too.
      Although, I think SKP needs MAD instead.

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    6. BCN is also supported by MK travel agencies, selling packages for BCN and Costa Brava using the Wizz flights to BCN

      Lisbon is popular among the urban crowd in SKP. it might actually work. (or MAD for the fanboys)

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    7. they are getting incentives from VIE for launching OHD (same for INI). they didnt launch any east european capital

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    8. Extremely shocked, there are no flights from SKP to TLV. I think because MK is still not an EU member.

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    9. Anon 09.37

      The only eastern European capital that will be served from VIE is Kiev.

      However they will fly to several eastern European destinations: Cluj-Napoca, Gdanks, Kharkov, Kutaisi, Tuzla, Nis and Varna.

      Plus obviously Ohrid and Skopje.

      So overall it's quite balanced between east and west.

      That said, with all these new arrivals in Vienna it's only a matter of time before someone launches VIE-BEG/ZAG/SJJ/TGD

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    10. Hopefully Wizz launches Belgrade - Vienna. We need good fares for that route.

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    11. i have a feeling that Laudamotion will launch the ex-yu capitals.

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    12. That would also be cool, but lets wait to see prices.

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    13. Lauda is Ryan, they are dumping fees right now

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  6. Wizz has become more expensive from SKP compared to the early years. Will the extra capacity cause prices to drop?

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    1. Companies will always try to sell as many seats as possible at the maximum possible price. Demand is obviously growing so they are adding capacity and trying to earn more money (hopefully for them with higher fares).

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  7. two weeks old, omg

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    1. I find it nice that they deployed a brand new plane in SKP and didn't send it to Budapest instead and give SKP their oldest A321.

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  8. So, two 230 seaters now based in SKP. Good work.

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    1. And it makes you wonder how on Earth AirSerbia and Croatia fly half empty planes 8 months a year.

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  9. Are there plans to replace the other two A320s with the A321s?

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    1. Having just 4 A321s based in SKP would be too risky. I doubt all routes require so much seats.

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    2. That seems excessive for winter schedule.

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  10. Will the A321s stay during the winter too?

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  11. I wish Sarajevo had been smart enough and made a deal with Wizz when there was the opportunity. We would be growing at the same rate as Skopje now.

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    1. Same for ZAG

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    2. No way for ZAG. LCCs should go to BNX, that is just behind the corner!

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    3. ahaha zlatni papagaj is back.

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    4. I think it is in the best interest of the whole region to stimulate geographical diversity of airports in the region. Why put all eggs in the same basket?

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  12. I think Wizz Air's future growth in Macedonia will be focused on Ohrid.

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    1. VIE-OHD was revised to be an A321 a few days ago.

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    2. Huge diaspora?

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    3. Yes, OHD's catchment area includes some 600.000 people including Albania too. This will certainly affect OS in TIA.

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  13. Great job SKP! I can tell you right now how huge the benefit and affect it made n in SOF. Prices sometimes can go very down as it's a huge plane that needs to be filled. 230 seats!
    They also use it on busy routes to compete with FR such ss BCN, FCO, MAD, EIN.

    Good luck and happy 2 millioning!

    Greets from SOF!

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  14. There aren't too many cities in their network where they have A321s based. This is great news for Skopje.

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    Replies
    1. BUD, WAW, OTP, SOF, VIE, LTN, KTW.

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  15. Could somebody explain me how do we get those 23% capacity increase by simple exchanging two A320 with A321? This fact is being repeated many times on this web.
    (2x180 + 2x230) / (4*180) = 1.1389 so less than 14% increase. If there is 23% increase, then there must be some other factor, almost the same strong as these two aircraft exchange...

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    1. Because they are adding new routes. Like from Vienna to Ohrid, and because they added new routes from Skopje last year midway through the year. So on an annual level this year there are more seats available. It doesn't say that the capacity increase is just from the two A321s.

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    2. Some flights are operated from other bases like VIE I suppose.

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    3. capacity is capacity, regardless from wher the aircraft is based from

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    4. You're forgetting to factor in the increased frequency out of Skopje.

      If a single A320 flies out of Skopje twice a week to a single route, then the capacity offered from Skopje is 2 x 180 = 360.

      But if an A321 starts operating the same route, with an increase of frequency to 3 x weekly, then the capacity on that specific route becomes 3 x 230 = 690. Which is a huge increase.

      Well you take the mean values for all the routes, all the frequencies throughout the whole year, and you end up with the number W6 has published.

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  16. Smart move. And I believe that they will add more new routes in the second half of the year when they win the subsidy tender.

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    1. They have to win the tender first.

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  17. I think INI will soon become a W6 base. I read that there is an exchange of passengers between SKP and INI. Locals enjoy both alternatives, because prices from INI sometimes are extremely cheap.

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    1. Doubt it. Wizz Air already suspended its first route (EIN) and hasn't added anything new this summer.

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    2. They are starting Vienna

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    3. In winter, not summer.

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    4. We will hardly see a base in INI until the outcome of airport takeover is clear, and more importantly whether government plans to cap passenger numbers in INI.

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    5. The cap will not fly just like the government backed off from taking over the airport.

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  18. with 4 airplanes MK Wizz is already big as 70% of JP (or even more? )

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    1. JP has 3a319,3crj700,8crj900
      Soo its not

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    2. but in passenger numbers

      "In the first four months of 2018, Wizz carried more than 360.000 passenger"

      "Overall, during the January - April period, Ljubljana Airport welcomed 487.152"

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    3. SKP WIZZ is almost big as LJU JP

      half of JP's fleet must be flying non-Slo

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    4. Only 3 planes
      S5aak,s5aan and s5aax

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  19. Can we expect W6 to base a fifth plane in Skopje next year?

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    1. if the tender is also incl. routes from Skopje then pretty much yeah

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    2. I'm really interested to see what they could introduce. I wonder if they would try and compete against Flydubai and start Skopje-Dubai?

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    3. They couldn't. Bilaterals.

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    4. They could potentially if Macedonian side designate Wizz to operate flights. It is effectively a national carrier of Hungary and Macedonia. :)

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  20. If you take a closer look routes like Malmo which are daily are now exclusively served by A321 each day. That's a lot of seats on sale!

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    1. I wonder how this will impact Germania's PRN-CPH.

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    2. damn that is almost a daily widebody capacity to Malmö

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    3. I'm assuming it's their busiest route out of SKP.

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  21. Ljubljana (slo) should do something similar. Put out funds to subsidize LCC airlines and let them establish a base at fraport lju. If they wanna play tourism, then this is one way to go. Otherwise they'll always lag behind all capital airports of exyu.

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    1. Good idea. Could capture some of the pax from nearby Croatia.

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  22. I think A321 in Tuzla ? It will be nice to fly from TZL to BSL,MMX,GOT,EIN,SXF,FMM with A321

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    1. TZL like INI needs to wait a bit more with any expansion as it seems airline expanded a bit too fast.

      VIE-TZL was already reduced.

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  23. "In the first four months of 2018, Wizz carried more than 360.000 passengers on its low fare routes to and from Macedonia, which represents a 21% growth year over year."

    wow

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    1. That would be around a 50% passenger share.

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  24. Wizz added capacity to Macedonia each year since they started flying which is great. I wish them all the best.

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  25. Notable capacity increase. Good job Wizz and Skopje.

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  26. How does Wizz rank by passengers in exyu ?

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  27. No one questioned Wizz statement MKD operations support 750 jobs in the country. Unsupported and possibly inflated claim. No one has courage to question Wizz here.

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