Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) has announced it will undertake major expansion at London Luton, launching its first routes not heading to the wider Central-Eastern Europe, including Georgia and Israel, in Spring 2018.
The Hungarian LCC said in a communique it will operate services from the London hub to Bari (2x weekly from March 25, 2018, and 4x weekly after April 19), Athens Int’l (7x weekly from April 29) and Reykjavik Keflavik (4x weekly from April 29 and 7x weekly after 17 September).
The flights may be operated by the carrier’s nascent UK subsidiary, Wizz Air UK, which is on track to launch in March 2018 with an initial fleet of three A320s. In November, Wizz Air announced it had acquired an unspecified number of ex-Monarch Airlines slots at Luton.
The move marks a departure from the carrier’s strategy to date, which has focused on operating East-to-West European routes. Owain Jones, Chief Corporate Office at Wizz Air, had previously told ch-aviation that the airline intended to operate predominantly across Europe and did not intend to develop non-Eastern services out of its hub at Luton.
According to the ch-aviation capacity module, Wizz Air operates 39 routes out of Luton but the vast majority of them are to countries in the wider Central-Eastern Europe belt. It operates, among others, seventy-three weekly departures to a total of eight airports in Poland, fifty-four departures to a total of nine Romanian airports and twenty-six departures to two airports in Hungary. It also flies from Luton to Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Moldova, Slovenia, Czechia, Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Georgia, as well as 3x weekly to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion. It also plans to launch flights to Larnaca on May 30, as well as a number of connections to the Balkan and Baltic countries.
Wizz Air is currently the second-largest operator at Luton with 238 weekly departures, 29.2% of all. The market leader at the airport is easyJet with 424 weekly departures.