Wizz Air, central Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier (LCC), is continuing to open up more and more European destinations for air travellers from the post-Soviet area.
The fast-growing Hungarian LCC has announced further expansion plans from its base at the Moldovan capital city of Chișinău by allocating a second Airbus A320 from December 2018 and the diversification of its existing route network from Moldova’s only international airport – with five new services to France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, as well as increasing frequencies on five selected routes. The latest initiatives represent a 68 per cent increase in its operations through the capital airport.
The new aircraft, which will arrive in December 2018, will support the service of six new routes: to Memmingen, Dortmund, Paris Beauvais, Copenhagen and Brussels Charleroi, with two weekly frequencies for each. Together with the new connections, some of the popular services from Chișinău to London-Luton, Milan-Bergamo, Venice-Treviso, Berlin-Schönefeld and Rome-Ciampino, will see slightly increased weekly frequencies.
In total, 17 incremental flights are being added to Wizz’s schedule from Chișinău in 2019. By increasing its operations, the carrier’s available capacity will grow to more than 700,000 seats on 13 routes to eight countries.
At a Chișinău press conference announcing the expansion project, George Michalopoulos, the airline’s chief commercial officer, commented: “Our continuous growth in Chișinău […] stimulates the tourism and hospitality sectors in Moldova.”
Although the Republic of Moldova is Europe’s least visited tourist destination, the country is nevertheless steadily generating its own air traffic flows to Europe, a pattern which reflects the fact that estimates show that almost 25 per cent of the country’s three million population work abroad. At the same time, most Moldovan air travellers are price-conscious, which make them ideal customers for a low-cost operator.
Between January and May 2018, more than 158,000 passengers flew on Wizz to and from Chișinău, an increase of more than 33 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.
Expanding its operations to two aircraft from the capital of one of Europe’s poorest countries, Wizz Air will utilise a local workforce of more than 70 direct employees and will also indirectly contribute to the employment of some 500 jobs (based on the Airports Council International (ACI) assumption that for every one million passengers carried annually, 750 on-site jobs are created). The next cabin crew recruitment sessions are already scheduled for July and August in Chișinău, says the airline.
Wizz Air inaugurated its Moldovan operations from the country’s capital airport in 2013, and set up a base there in March 2017. In the post-Soviet area, the Hungarian low-cost carrier also offers base operations from Kutaisi (Georgia), Kyiv (Ukraine), Vilnius (Lithuania) and Riga (Latvia).
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