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WZZ-2005-TOP LCC STATS
WZZ-2009-12 TO WROCLAW
WZZ-2013-02 - NEW ATC
WZZ-2013-10 - TOP 12 INDIAN ROUTES FROM DUBAI
WZZ-2014-05-A320 AT BUDAPEST AIR SHOW-A
WZZ-2014-05-A320 AT BUDAPEST AIR SHOW-B
WZZ-2014-06-NEW RIGA BASE-A
WZZ-2014-06-NEW RIGA BASE-B
WZZ-2015-04 - KATOWICE TO BELFAST.jpg
WZZ-2015-04 - WARSAW TO MALTA.jpg
WZZ-2015-05 - Budapest to Maastricht-A.jpg
WZZ-2015-05 - New Livery-A.jpg
WZZ-2015-05 - New Livery.jpg
WZZ-2016-08 - To Sibiu Romania.jpg
WZZ-2017-08 - Budapest to Pulkovo.jpg
WZZ-Cabin Attendants - 2017-08.jpg
WZZ-Cabin Attendants and Ground Crew-2017-08.jpg
WZZ-Flight Crew and Cabin Attendants-2017-08.jpg
WZZ-FLIGHT CREW CABIN ATTENDANTS
WZZ-MAP ROUTES - 2004-09
WZZ-Route Map-A -2015-12.jpg
Established in 2003. Started operations in 2004. Low-cost domestic, regional, and international, scheduled, passenger, jet airplane services.
Airport Business Park C-2
Lorinci u. 59
Vesces, Budapest H-2220, Hungary
Hungary was established in 1001, covers an area of 93,033 sq km, its population is 10.6 million, its capital city is Budapest, and its official language is Hungarian.
September 2003: Wizz air (WZZ) was founded in Katowice, Poland by former Malev (HGA) (CEO), Jozsef Varadi as a privately-owned low cost carrier (LCC).
February 2004: 1 +4 orders A320-233's (1635, HA-LPB; 892; 1834; 1892; 1902) Watermark leased for operations by low-cost subsidiary, Wizz Air (WZZ).
March 2004: Low-cost operator, Wizz Air, will base 1 A320 in Budapest. Headed by former Malev (HGA) (CEO), Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air intends to operate 9 leased A320's. British and Hungarian banking interests are providing start up funding for the carrier which will have a hub in Katowice, Poland, 180 miles south of Warsaw. It will operate to about 10 cities.
It has 5-year contract with Lufthansa Technik (LTK) (DLH) for Total Technical Support, including line and base maintenance, maintenance management services and component support.
(FAA) Safety Oversight upgrades Poland to Category 1.
April 2004: In May 2004, Katowice to London (LTN), Berlin (Schonefeld), Milan (Bergamo), and Rome (Ciampino) (all daily).
By end of 2004, expects to operate 9 airplanes. Another 10 will be added in 2005, with the aim of building fleet size to between 30 and 40 by 2007.
May 2004: In June 2004, opens base in Budapest with flights to London Luton (daily), Barcelona, Athens, Drugge, Gerona (3/week); Rome (CIA) (4/week), Paris Beavais, Prague and Katowice. In July 2004, Katowice to Paris Beauvais (4/week), Athens (3/week), Barcelona, Dortmund (6/week), Gerona (3/week), Mun, Skavsta, and Stockholm. Budapest - Charleroi, Skavsta.
Indigo Partners, a USA-based private equity investment firm has invested EUR 20 million/$24 million in Wizz Air (WZZ). The agreement also include raising an additional EUR 20 million from European private investors.
June 2004: A320-233 (1902, HA-LPD), Airbus (AFIS) leased.
July 2004: In September 2004, Budapest to Milan (BGY) (daily), Warsaw to Charleroi, Dortmund (daily), Gdansk, Katowice to Malmo (3x-weekly).
3 A320-233's (839, HA-LPA; 1834, HA-LPF; 1892, HA-LPE), Airbus (AFIS) leased.
August 2004: London Luton to Warsaw (2x-daily); & Luton to Gdansk (daily). In September 2004, Warsaw to Dortmund & Brussels (daily), Warsaw to Copenhagen & Malmo, Katowice to Gdansk. With these additional flights, will operate 87 frequencies to Poland.
Currently has registered capital of >EUR 7 million, and will receive a EUR 3 million/$3.6 million convertible loan from (WZZ)'s owners and Indigo Partners to help fund its operations and continued growth until the completion of a EUR 40 million equity financing.
Now has 5 A320's and has carried 100,000 passengers since it began operating.
September 2004: A320-232 (892, HA-LPC), Debis AirFinance (DEA) leased.
October 2004: Carried nearly 37,000 passengers on flights from Budapest in August 2004, making Wizz Air (WZZ) the #1 Low Cost Carrier (LCC) in Hungary and the 3rd largest airline in Budapest International Airport.
November 2004: In March 2005, Budapest and Katowice to Frankfurt Hahn (5/week), Barcelona Girona. Budapest to Athens. Gdansk to Stockholm. In June 2005, Budapest and Katowice to Palma de Mallorca (seasonal).
December 2004: Completed a "term sheet" for a EUR 25 million/+$33.2 million financing with a group of investors led by Indigo Partners, the investment partnership that has also invested in Tiger Airways (TGR).
In March 2005, Warsaw to Beauvais, Girona, Hahn, & Skavsta.
May 2005: In September 2005, Poznan, its 4th city in Poland to London Luton (A320, 4x-weekly).
In last year, has carried 1.2 million passengers, of which >700,000 have traveled on its Polish routes.
June 2005: In autumn, Sofia to Budapest. Currently to 17 destinations in Europe with 6 A320's.
July 2005: Wizz Air (WZZ) operates from Katowice, Warsaw, Gdansk, and Budapest on 32 European routes to 17 destinations with 6 A320's.
In December 2005 will more than double its capacity in Warsaw by increasing its weekly flights from the city from 31 to 63, starting with Warsaw to Kaunas (6x-weekly), to Budapest (5x-weekly), & to Dortmund (5x-weekly).
Letter of Intent (LOI) $1.4 billion 12/12 orders (February 2007) A320 family airplanes (V2500-A5), 180Y passengers.
Selects Component Control's Quantum Control aviation (ERP) software to replace its 3rd party parts inventory and maintenance system to support maintenance functions for its fleet of 6 A320's.
August 2005: In November 2005, Amsterdam to Katowice (3x-weekly) and Budapest (4x-weekly).
1 order (April 2006) A320-200 (V2500), (ILF) 7 year leased, 180Y.
September 2005: Wizz Air (WZR) commenced 4x-weekly services from London Luton to Poznan and Budapest to Sofia September 18. Due to strong demand, it said it will add a 5th weekly Luton to Poznan service beginning December 1.
Wizz Air (WZZ) finalized a previously announced contract for 12 A319s/A320s plus 12 options. Airplanes will be powered by (IAE) (V2500)s. Deliveries will begin in the summer of 2007.
October 2005: Wizz Air (WZZ) carried its 2 millionth passenger. Martyna Lelinska was traveling from Katowice to Milan Bergamo and will receive unlimited tickets for a year on the Wizz Air (WZZ) network. The airline carried its millionth passenger in April, 11 months after it began operations.
In November 2005, Katowice to Amsterdam, and in December 2005, to Budapest. Wizz Air (WZZ) will discontinue service from Budapest to Bergamo on November 8th.
(WZZ) unveiled an incentive for frequent travelers, offering immediate 15% - 25% bonuses on funds passengers contribute to a prepaid account.
A320-232 (2571, HA-LPG), Boullioun (BOU) leased.
November 2005: Amsterdam Schiphol's new low-cost carrier pier opened November 1 with easyJet (EZY), Thomsonfly.com (TFY), bmibaby (BMI), Jet2 (JT2) and SkyEurope (SKP)as tenants. Wizz Air (WZZ) joins December 1. Initially, 20 - 30 daily flights will operate from Pier H, which has seven gates but no airbridges. The airport's seventh pier, it can accommodate a maximum of 64 daily inbound and outbound flights and was designed to handle around 8 million passengers annually. It was constructed in just nine months, Schiphol said.
(WZZ) announced establishment of a new crew base in Warsaw, its third base overall and second in Poland. It also took delivery of its first new A320. The airplane, the seventh in its fleet, is leased from Aviation Capital Group on a 5.5-year term and will serve the Polish market starting December 1. (WZZ) will add a second airplane to the Warsaw base. (WZZ) currently serves 10 destinations from the Polish capital and has 62 weekly flights. New services to Kaunas in Lithuania, Dortmund and Budapest will be introduced December 1.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jozsef Varadi said, "We have just recently added Poznan as the fourth airport to our network in Poland. With our new base opening we aim at carrying over 2 million passengers to and from Poland next year." According to statistics of the Polish Civil Aviation Authorities, (WZZ) is now the second largest airline in Poland, after (LOT), and the largest low-cost airline in the country, accounting for 12% market share of all airlines and over >40% of the total low cost traffic.
(WZZ) will launch Wroclaw - Dortmund service March 1 and operate 5 flights a week using an A320. On March 2, (WZZ) will start a 3X weekly Gdansk - Liverpool service.
December 2005: Wizz Air (WZZ) will start four weekly flights between Gdansk and Lubeck March 3. (WZZ) will operate seasonal summer service from Budapest to Corfu from June 17th through September 22nd and have 1 flight a week with an A320.
Launches subsidiary, Wizz Air Bulgaria (WVL) in Sofia Bulgaria. Operates A320-232 (2571, LZ-WZA), (WZZ) wet-leased.
January 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) said it carried 1.9 million passengers last year, a better-than-threefold increase over the 567,885 passengers carried in 2004.
Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin four-times-weekly Zagreb - London Luton service on March 27. (WZZ) will start thrice-weekly Kaunas - Malmo service from March 26. (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly service to Glasgow/Prestwick from Warsaw and Gdansk March 28. It also will operate Sunday Budapest - Crete service between June 18 and September 17. (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly Katowice - Cologne service from April 7. Cologne is the carrier's fourth German destination.
February 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced the launch of the following services: Daily Zagreb - London Luton from May 1, thrice-weekly Split - London Luton from May 1, weekly Split - Budapest from June 17 (seasonal), thrice-weekly Ljubljana - Brussels Charleroi on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, with an A320, from May 1 and four-times-weekly Ljubljana - London Luton from May 2. (WZZ) will begin services from Sofia and Bourgas to London Luton from May 1. Summer Bourgas - Budapest flights will start June 18.
SkyEurope Airlines (SKP) is shifting capacity from Poland, where low-cost competitor (WZZ) holds sway, to the Czech Republic, where the Slovakian carrier will open its fifth base at Prague Ruzyni. "In spite of being influenced by the low-cost revolution mostly from the UK, the market in Prague remains under-served and misses a dedicated low-cost, low-fare airline based there," (SKP) said. It will take delivery of 16 149-seat 737-700s over the next two years and will base a pair in Prague. It will begin service April 10 with five routes: Daily to Amsterdam, four-times-weekly to Barcelona, daily to Milan Bergamo, twice-daily to Paris Orly and daily to Rome Fiumicino. Thrice-weekly flights to Nice will commence April 11 and twice-weekly service to Naples will begin April 13.
Meanwhile, (WZZ) announced its plans to fill the breach in Poland, by offering free tickets on certain flights from Warsaw and Katowice from March 26 to May 31. (WZZ) said (SKP) is canceling service from Warsaw to London Stansted and Bratislava and opting not to launch previously announced services from Krakow to Stockholm and Bologna and from Poznan to Amsterdam. According to (SKP)'s website, flights from Warsaw are not available after March 24 and tickets are not for sale on the other three routes.
Later, (SKP) denied forcefully any assertion that it is decreasing its service to the Polish market, announcing it will base four of the six new 737-700s it will add this year at Krakow Balice. Rival (WZZ) said it would offer free tickets to (SKP) passengers left "stranded" by the Slovakian carrier's decision to cancel service from Warsaw to London Stansted and Bratislava and to postpone two additional flights from Poland.
(SKP) said it will operate 61 weekly flights from Poland to 16 European destinations this summer and that the decisions mentioned by (WZZ) "are not related in any way to a reduction of (SKP)'s engagement in Poland." It said it is adding service from Krakow to Edinburgh, Birmingham, Brussels, Turin, Naples, Barcelona and Athens in the spring and early summer and shortly will announce additional routes. It noted (WZZ) has canceled or reduced capacity on at least 11 flights from Warsaw and Katowice.
A320-232 (2688, HA-LPH), Boullioun (BOU) leased.
March 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Gdansk - Cologne service from June 7. (WZZ) will operate thrice-weekly, Warsaw - Gothenburg service from June 18.
It added its eighth A320 on lease from Aviation Capital Group (CGP).
April 2006: Lufthansa Technik (LTK) signed a five-year contract to provide its Total Component Support package for Wizz Air (WZZ)'s A320 fleet, which will number 24 airplanes by the end of the contract.
(WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Katowice to Cork on July 14th and operate 3 flights a week using an A320. (WZZ) starts thrice-weekly service between Targu Mures and Budapest on July 14, marking its entry into the Romanian market.
(WZZ) and Pegasus Aviation Finance (PSS) announced the closing of a sale and leaseback transaction for four new (IAE) (V2500)-powered A320s scheduled for delivery in 2007. Lease term is 11 years.
(WZZ) took delivery of a new (IAE) (V2500)-powered A320, which the low-fare airline plans to operate to Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia as part its expansion of Eastern European services. The airplane is leased from (ILFC) (ILF). (WZZ) also plans to launch thrice-weekly flights on July 14 between Cork and Katowice, the first direct service on the route.
May 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ), citing data from the Polish (CAA), said it carried 15.5% of the total passenger traffic to and from Poland in the first quarter, up from 11.7% last year. It claims to be Poland's second-largest airline and the largest Low Cost Carrier (LCC) serving the country.
(WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Katowice - Lubeck service on September 18. (WZZ) launched services from Ljubljana to Brussels Charleroi and London Luton. The airline said it expects 80% load factors on the routes this summer. (WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Katowice to Doncaster Sheffield on September 19th. The airline will initially operate 3 flights a week using an A320.
1 A320-200, Aviation Capital Group (CGP) leased.
June 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Katowice to Sandefjord Airport Torp outside of Oslo on September 19th. The airline will operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Sundays, using an A320.
(WZZ) will move its Budapest - Amsterdam route to Eindhoven (EIN) from September 19th. The airline said (EIN) is "a smaller and more cost efficient airport" and "the savings will be passed directly on to the customers." The airline will continue to operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, using an A320. It also announced it will launch the following new services on September 19: Thrice-weekly Katowice - Oslo Torp, thrice-weekly, Budapest - Gothenburg and thrice-weekly, Katowice - Doncaster Sheffield. It also recently started flights from Ljubljana to Brussels and London Luton.
(WZZ) announced 8 new routes from 3 airports in Romania. They are to be inaugurated on January 15th as follows from:
Arad to Bergamo = 3x a week;
Bucharest Baneasa to Barcelona = 3x a week;
Bucharest Baneasa to Budapest = 3x a week;
Bucharest Baneasa to Dortmund = 3x a week;
Bucharest Baneasa to London Luton = 3x a week;
Bucharest Baneasa to Rome (CIA) = 4x a week;
Targu Mures to Barcelona = 3x a week;
Targu Mures to Rome (CIA) = 3x a week.
All flights will be operated with A320s.
July 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced the addition of nine new routes from Romania beginning with Targu Mures - Budapest from July 14. Flights from Bucharest Baneasa to Barcelona, Budapest, Dortmund, London Luton and Rome Ciampino, Arad to Milan Bergamo and Targu Mures to Barcelona and Rome Ciampino will begin on January 15. All routes will operate thrice-weekly, except for Bucharest - Ciampino, which will be four-times-weekly. (WZZ) also will launch a thrice-weekly Gdansk - Cork service on December 15.
Airbus (EDS) secured an expected order for 20 A320s from (WZZ) for delivery in 2009 to 2011. The deal follows on last year's order by the Polish Low Cost Carrier (LCC) for 12 A320s plus 12 options. This agreement covers the exercise of those options plus eight more airplanes. All will be powered by (IAE) (V2500)s.
"This new airplane order keeps (WZZ) on track to be the single largest airline in Central and Eastern Europe, both in terms of fleet size and carried passengers. By 2012, (WZZ) will operate up to 53 A320 airplanes," said Jozsef Varadi, CEO of the two-year-old airline.
August 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) will extend its twice-weekly service from Katowice to Girona - Costa Brava, originally scheduled to end next month, to October 28.
September 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Warsaw to Grenoble (France) on November 25th, operating 1 weekly flight on Saturdays using an A320. (WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Sofia to Rome's Ciampino (CIA) Airport on March 2nd, operating 3 flights a week using an A320.
October 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) will start new flights to Belfast International from Katowice and Warsaw from May 29 and July 28, respectively. (WZZ) will launch six new routes from Katowice for the summer schedule, increasing capacity from the airport by +50%. The carrier will base a new A320 there from May 29, 2007. New services are to Belfast and Eindhoven (both thrice-weekly from May 29), Bourgas and Heraklion (both weekly from June 2), Bournemouth (thrice-weekly from July 14) and Coventry (thrice-weekly from July 28). Summer flights to Athens and Barcelona also will resume.
(WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Gdansk to Doncaster/Sheffield on July 15th. The airline will operate 4 flights a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Sundays, using an A320.
(WZZ) will inaugurate nonstop service from Gdansk to Malmo on July 14th and operate 3 flights a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, & Saturdays, using an A320.
(WZZ) announced it will add from its Warsaw base, thrice-weekly flights to Oslo Torp and Durham Tees Valley from July 28. It will launch weekly services to Bourgas from June 2, and Corfu from May 29. The carrier will base a third A320 in Warsaw.
November 2006: Wizz Air (WZZ) completed a sale/leaseback transaction with GECAS (GEF) for four new A320s, which will be delivered in the first half of 2008. They will be leased on an 11-year term. (WZZ) has 32 A320s on order, plus 12 options, and expects to operate 53 by 2012.
January 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) will base a second A320 in Gdansk from July, and launch services to Doncaster Sheffield (four-times-weekly from July 28), and Malmo (thrice-weekly from July 29).
(WZZ) announced it will expand its operations from Katowice with the launch of a daily service to London Stansted on May 29th, thrice-weekly service to Malmo starting in July and a thrice-weekly flight to Brussels Charleroi beginning October 2nd.
May 2007: Starts Katowice - Belfast International, - Corfu, - Eindhoven. Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch flights from Bucharest to Liverpool and Parma (each thrice-weekly from October 1) and Valencia (twice-weekly from October 29). Service to Rome Ciampino will increase to daily from four-times-weekly from June 8, and thrice-weekly London Luton service will be six-times-weekly by July 14. Starting October 1st, Bucharest - Liverpool, - Parma. Starting October 29th, Bucharest - Valencia.
(WZZ) extended its current three-year contract with Gate Gourmet for an additional two years.
(WZZ) announced that its advertised fares now will include all taxes, charges and handling fees.
(WZZ) took delivery of the first of 32 A320s directly purchased from Airbus (EDS).
(WZZ) and GECAS (GEF) announced the sale and leaseback of four (V-2500)-powered A320s scheduled to be delivered to (WZZ) next year, doubling the number of airplanes covered by the arrangement between the companies. Airplanes will be leased on 11-year terms.
2 A320-232 (3127, HA-LPJ; 3143, HA-LPK), deliveries.
June 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) is basing a third A320 in Warsaw and recently launched weekly flights to Bourgas and Corfu. Thrice-weekly service to Durham Tees Valley and Oslo Torp will begin July 28. (WZZ) also has started flights from Katowice (KTW) to Belfast (thrice-weekly), Eindhoven (thrice-weekly), Bourgas (weekly), and Heraklion (weekly). Next month, it will launch thrice-weekly flights from (KTW) to Bournemouth (July 14) and Coventry (July 28), as well as services from Gdansk to Doncaster Sheffield (four-times-weekly from July 15) and Malmo (thrice-weekly from July 14). Wizz Air Bulgaria (WVL) will launch twice-weekly Sofia - Dortmund service from October 29. It will be the (WVL)'s third route from the Bulgarian capital.
A320-232 (3166, HA-LPL), delivery.
July 2007: A320-232 (3177, HA-LPM), delivery.
August 2007: EasyJet (EZY) and Wizz Air (WZZ) announced that they will start charging for each piece of checked baggage. (EZY) said that in order to "reduce the number of passengers who travel with checked-in bags," it will be charging £2/$4.06 per piece of hold baggage per sector from October 1.
Previously, (EZJ) did not charge for the first bag, but levied £5 for each additional piece. Maximum weight per passenger remains at 20 kg. (WZZ) likewise was charging only for additional pieces, but said it now will charge €3/$4.10 per bag at the time of the initial booking or €6 per bag, if paid after the initial booking. The policy change is effective for travel from October 27, unless already booked. (WZZ) will continue to charge €8 for each kg over the 20-kg allowance. "We are pursuing our philosophy of charging the passengers, according to their needs, and we are using this change to keep our airfares down," it said.
(WZZ) will base a second A320 at Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) and launch new thrice-weekly services to Parma and Treviso from February 28. It also will increase frequencies on its six other routes from (BBU) and will operate 38 weekly flights by next March.
(WZZ) will launch daily, London Gatwick - Katowice service on January 31 and thrice-weekly, Dortmund - Tirgu Mures flights on February 28.
September 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) will add a third A320 to its base at Gdansk in March, launch thrice-weekly service to Bournemouth, Coventry and Gothenburg, and add frequencies on its existing routes. (WZZ) said it expects to grow the number of passengers traveling to and from its Gdansk base, to more than >1 million in 2008.
(WZZ) will introduce "comfort seats" with extra legroom in rows 12 and 13 on its A320s on October 29. The extra legroom costs €5/$6.98, if paid online concurrently with the booking, and €10 if paid after the initial booking.
October 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) is set to announce a significant airplane order with Airbus (EDS), according to "Reuters," which cited an invitation to the Warsaw signing ceremony, that called the order "the largest one for (EDS) in Central and Eastern Europe." (WZZ) currently flies 13 A320-200s and has 34 more on order.
(WZZ) signed a contract for 50 firm A320s plus 25 options, an order that the manufacturer said was the largest ever from Central and Eastern Europe for a single (EDS) type. (WZZ) already had 32 A320s on order. "(WZZ) has demonstrated its ability for sustainable growth in a competitive environment, where low-cost leadership is fundamental to market share growth and to remaining competitive," CEO, Jozsef Varadi said. "The new airplane order will put (WZZ) in the league of the largest fleet operators in the region. By 2016, (WZZ) would operate a fleet of over 100 A320 airplanes."
The carrier, which launched operations in the spring of 2004, currently operates 13 leased A320s from six bases throughout Central and Eastern Europe. It carried more than 3 million passengers last year. New airplanes will be configured with 180Y seats in a single-class configuration. No delivery schedule or engine choice was announced. Wizz (WZZ) said the order will fulfill its capacity requirements until 2014.
November 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) said it will open its 8th operating base in Cluj, basing a new A320 and a local crew (FC)/(CA) there beginning in May.
(WZZ) will launch flights from Bucharest Baneasa to Cluj (four-times-weekly), Brussels Charleroi (thrice-weekly), and Milan Orio al Serio (thrice-weekly) on February 28.
(WZZ) will base an additional A320 in Sofia beginning July 12 and launch flights to Varna (four-times-weekly), Milan Orio al Serio (four-times-weekly), Valencia (thrice-weekly), Barcelona (twice-weekly), and Izmir (weekly), while increasing frequencies to London Luton, Rome Fiumicino, and Dortmund.
December 2007: Wizz Air (WZZ) will start thrice-weekly, Warsaw - Doncaster/Sheffield service on April 1.
(WZZ) announced summer schedule enhancements, including 15 new weekly flights from Budapest (with new service to Gothenburg, Oslo, Torp, and Treviso), and a fifth A320 based at Katowice, that will contribute to an expanded program, scheduled to include new flights to Varna. Increases from Gdansk will include new service to Turku from April, and Girona from June. Summer frequencies will increase +35% networkwide.
(WZZ) and GECAS (GEF) announced a sale and leaseback transaction covering six A320s, scheduled for delivery in 2009, and set to be leased for 11 years each. The companies have similar deals covering eight additional A320s to be delivered over the next two years.
January 2008: A320-232 (3354, HA-LPN), delivery.
February 2008: 2 A320-232s (3384, HA-LPO; 3409, HA-LPQ), deliveries.
March 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) launched four-times-weekly, Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) - Cluj Napoca, its first Romanian domestic service, as well as thrice-weekly, (BBU) - Brussels Charleroi, (BBU) - Bergamo, and Cluj Napoca - Dortmund. (WZZ) will base an A320 in Cluj from May and will launch flights to Valencia and Bergamo.
Wizz Air Bulgaria (WVL) will launch Sofia - Brussels Charleroi on July 24, bringing to eight, the number of destinations served from the Bulgarian capital.
A320-232 (3430, HA-LPR), delivery.
April 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) will open at a base at Kiev Boryspil and launch service to seven destinations on July 11. A320 service will be to L'viv (four-times-weekly), Kharkov (four-times-weekly), Odessa (daily), Zaporyzhzhia (thrice-weekly), and Simferopol (10-times-weekly). It also will operate from Simferopol to Kharkov (thrice-weekly), and L'viv (four-times-weekly).
June 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) is a low-cost carrier (LCC) based in Hungary, linking Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Romania with points in the Mediterranean, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, and Scandinavia.
Employees = 450.
(IATA) Code: W6. (ICAO) Code: WZZ (Callsign - WIZZAIR).
Parent organization/shareholders: European institutions and private investors, Indigo Partners.
Main Base: Budapest Ferihegy Airport (BUD) and Katowice airport (KTW).
Hubs: Warsaw Frederic Chopin airport (WAW); & Gdansk airport (GDN).
International, scheduled destinations: Amsterdam; Arad; Athens; Barcelona; Belfast; Bergamo; Birmingham; Bourgas; Bournemouth; Brussels; Bucharest; Budapest; Cluj; Cologne; Copenhagen; Corfu; Cork; Coventry; Crakow; Crete; Doncaster-Sheffield; Dortmund; Durham Tees Valley; Eindhoven; Frankfurt; Gdansk; Glasgow; Gothenburg; Grenoble; Hamburg; Heraklion; Izmir; Katowice; Kaunas; Kharkov; Kiev; Liverpool; Ljubljana; London; Lubek; L'viv; Malmo; Manchester; Milan; Odessa; Oslo; Palma; Paris; Parma; Poznan; Rhodes; Rome; Sheffield; Simferopol; Sofia; Split; Stockholm; Tirgu-mures; Treviso; Turku; Valencia; Varna; Vilnius; Warsaw; Wroclaw; Zagreb; & Zaporyzhzhia.
Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Warsaw - Rome Ciampino on September 16 and thrice-weekly, Budapest - Dortmund on October 26.
July 2008: Hungary's Wizz Air (WZZ) has launched a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Ukraine with one A320 operating four domestic routes. The carrier aims to quickly expand with plans to begin international services in September, despite record high fuel prices and infrastructure bottlenecks which the other country's carriers say make the Low Cost Carrier (LCC) model unsustaibable in the Ukraine.
The bottlenecks have not stopped Ukraine's two main carriers AerSvit (UKA) and Ukraine International Airlines (UKR) from quickly expanding and turning healthy profits. Last year, the Ukrainian market grew +23% to 9 million passengers. (UKR)s traffic grew +42% (RPK)s to 1.5 million, while (UKA) grew +29% (RPK)s to 2 million.
Both carriers have ambitious growth plans. (UKR) will add its 16th 737 classic in October and plans to order 30 to 36 new narrow bodies by year end. (UKA) which now operates about 20 airplanes and last year ordered 7 737-800s, is now looking to buy 10 large regional jets.
International Aero Engines (IAE) said (WZZ) placed a follow-on order for (V2500)s to power a new fleet of 50 A320s. The agreement includes a "V2500Select" aftermarket agreement, bringing the value to $1.6 billion at list prices. (WZZ) currently operates 18 (IAE)-powered airplanes and has on order a further 23 A320s that are committed to be equipped with the (V2500), (IAE) said.
August 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced it will open a base at Timisoara in March 2009, its 10th overall. (WZZ) will base three A320s and employ more than >100 people at the Romanian airport over the next three years, it said, representing an investment of more than >€100 million/$147.9 million. (WZZ) also operates bases at Bucharest Baneasa and Cluj. It will launch thrice-weekly service from Timisoara to London Luton, Rome Fiumicino, and Dortmund on December. 17. On March 11, it will begin thrice-weekly flights to Bergamo, Barcelona, and Treviso, plus twice-weekly service to Paris Beauvais, and Valencia.
October 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) said it will base one extra A320 each at Timisoara, Bucharest Baneasa, and Cluj Napoca, and double its Romanian capacity over the next six months. From Timisoara, it will launch thrice-weekly, Dortmund (December 18); thrice-weekly, London Luton (October 27); twice-weekly, Paris Beauvais (February 20); thrice-weekly, Treviso (February 19); thrice-weekly, Bergamo (February 19); thrice-weekly, Rome Fiumicino (February 17); thrice-weekly, Barcelona (February 19); and twice-weekly, Valencia (February 22). From Baneasa, it will start thrice-weekly, Madrid (MAD) (March 3); thrice-weekly, Bologna (March 3); and four-times-weekly, Paris Beauvais (March 1). From Cluj, it will launch thrice-weekly, flights to (MAD) (May 2); Bologna (May 2); Treviso (March 3); and Beauvais (December 18). It also will increase service on 10 routes from Baneasa and Cluj. In 2009, (WZZ) expects to carry more than >1.7 million passengers in Romania, double the 2008 number, aboard six A320s.
(WZZ) will base a third A320 at Budapest and launch four-times-weekly, Madrid and twice-weekly, Naples on April 1. It will restart flights to Barcelona (thrice-weekly on April 2) and Oslo Torp (twice-weekly on April 3), and increase frequencies to Paris Beauvais, Eindhoven, Gothenburg, Malmo, Treviso, and London Luton. It will launch twice-weekly flights from Poznan to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) (December 16), Bergamo (January 17), and Cork (December 19), from Bologna to Warsaw and Katowice (both October 27) and from Gdansk to (FCO) (October 28). On December 17, it will launch four-times-weekly, Kiev Boryspil - London Luton (LTN), becoming daily, March 28, and on January 15, it will launch service from Kiev to Dortmund (four-times-weekly) and Cologne (thrice-weekly), and from Lviv to Dortmund (thrice-weekly) and (LTN) (four-times weekly). (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Kiev Boryspil - Katowice January 3.
November 2008: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Kiev Boryspil - Oslo Torp service on January 5.
December 2008: Teledyne Controls won a contract with Wizz Air (WZZ) to provide its Flight Data Interface Management Unit for installation on 70 A320s and possibly 25 more. Technology will handle flight data acquisition, airplane condition monitoring and data recording. (WZZ) also selected Teledyne's Application Generation Software to enhance airplane condition monitoring capability.
A320-232 (3741, UR-WUB), for subsidiary Wizz Air Ukraine operations.
January 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin serving Prague on February 19 with flights to London Luton (LTN) (four-times-weekly), Rome Fiumicino (four-times-weekly), Bergamo (BGY) (four-times-weekly), Brussels Charleroi (CRL) (thrice-weekly), Paris Beauvais (thrice-weekly) and Eindhoven (thrice-weekly). Frequencies to (LTN), (BGY) and (CRL) will increase on July 25. (WZZ) CEO, Jozsef Varadi said the carrier intends to become the "leading" Low Cost Carrier (LCC) in the Czech Republic "in the coming years." (WZZ) carried 5.9 million passengers in total last year, up +41% from 2007, and launched more than >40 new routes. It currently operates 20 A320s from nine bases.
(WZZ) will transfer its Bologna operation to Forli, from which it will continue to serve Katowice (twice-weekly), Warsaw (twice-weekly) and Cluj (thrice-weekly). The move is effective March 29.
February 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) opened its Timisoara base, its 10th overall, from which it is serving Rome Fiumicino, London Luton, Dortmund, Bergamo, Barcelona, Paris Beauvais, Valencia and Venice Treviso. It also announced plans to base a second A320 in Prague from July, increasing frequencies on four current routes and launching flights to Naples, Madrid and Malmo. Is planning to connect Sofia (Bulgaria) with Basel, Kiev, and Tunis.
2 A320-232s (3771, HA-LPS; 3807, HA-LPT) deliveries.
March 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) told "Reuters" that it's been profitable for the last few years on an operating basis.
(WZZ) will launch flights from Prague to Liverpool (thrice-weekly on July 11) and Oslo Torp (four-times-weekly on July 12).
(GECAS) (GEF) announced the delivery of one new A320-200 to (WZZ).
April 2009: Honeywell (SGC) said Wizz Air (WZZ) selected a safety and navigational avionics suite and the 131-9A Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) for installation on 70 new Wizz Air Hungary (WZZ) A320s, with a long-term service agreement on the (APU).
A320-232 (3877, HA-LPU) delivery.
June 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Kiev Boryspil - Memmingen service on September 22. (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Prague - Treviso service on September 20.
(WZZ) signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus (EDS) at the Paris Air Show to purchase +50 more A320s valued at around $3.8 billion. If converted to a firm order, it will take (WZZ)'s orders for the type up to 132.
The new A320s are aimed at allowing (WZZ) to add frequencies to existing routes and expand its network. It currently operates from 11 bases in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the Ukraine, and the Czech Republic and has 24 A320s in service. "The new order is consistent with our growth plan and underpins our aspiration to become the airline of choice in Central and Eastern Europe," CEO, Jozsef Varadi said.
(GECAS) (GEF) delivered A320-232s (3927, HA-LPV; 3947, HA-LPW) to (WZZ) through a sale/leaseback transaction with the airline.
July 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch flights from Gdansk to Bergamo (twice-weekly) and Eindhoven (thrice-weekly) on December 17 using A320s. (WZZ) will commence twice-weekly service from Bucharest to Catania and Forli September 21 and October 28, respectively. It will launch twice-weekly service from Katowice to Munich West and Venice Treviso September 22 and 29, respectively (increasing to thrice-weekly from the winter schedule). (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Budapest - Dusseldorf Weeze service on September 21 and twice-weekly, Sofia - Eindhoven on October 25.
A320-232 (3968, HA-LPX), delivery.
August 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) will operate seasonal weekly service to Grenoble from Bucharest, and Cluj - Napoca December 12 - March 27. (WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Gdansk - Bergen service December 18.
Monarch (MON) Aircraft Engineering signed a five-year contract with Wizz Air Ukraine (WZZ) to provide A320 line and light maintenance services in the Ukraine.
(GECAS) (GEF) delivered one new A320-200 to (WZZ). The airplane, acquired through a purchase and leaseback transaction with (WZZ), is part of an existing order agreement.
September 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced the addition of a third airplane in Prague in June 2010 in response to SkyEurope Airlines (SKP)'s shutdown. (WZZ) also will increase frequencies on existing services to London Luton, Rome Fiumicino, Bergamo, Brussels Charleroi, and Eindhoven in September and October. (WZZ) will add a third A320 to its Sofia base in May 2010 and will launch new thrice-weekly flights to Madrid, Paris Beauvais, Frankfurt Hahn, and Forli on May 22. Frequencies to Eindhoven and Valencia will increase and passenger numbers at the airport are expected to rise +37% over 2009.
(WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Kiev Boryspil - Treviso service October 27, increasing to thrice-weekly, December 15. (WZZ) will increase capacity at Prague by +50% next spring with new frequencies on 13 routes, enabled by a third A320 it will add to the base on March 27.
Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) announced a 10-year extension to its Total Component Support contract with (WZZ), which will include wheel and brake support. (WZZ) plans to grow its fleet from the current 26 A320s to 132 in 2017.
October 2009: Next July, Wroclaw will become (WZZ)'s 12th base and fifth in Poland. It already flies from Wroclaw to London Luton, which will be joined by Dortmund, Oslo Torp and Paris Beauvais in December, and by Eindhoven, Forli/Bologna, Cork, Doncaster, and Milan Bergamo next July.
(WZZ) will launch service from its new base in Wroclaw to Paris Beauvais (twice-weekly, starting December 18), Oslo Torp (thrice-weekly, starting December 17), Eindhoven (twice-weekly, starting July 19), Forli Bologna (twice-weekly, starting July 19), Cork (twice-weekly, starting July 18), Milan Bergamo (thrice-weekly, starting July 17) and relaunch service to Dortmund (thrice-weekly, starting December 17) and Doncaster Sheffield (twice-weekly, starting July 19). Additionally, it will increase service from Wroclaw to London Luton to seven-times-weekly from July 17.
Wizz Air (WZZ) named Frontier Airlines (FRO) (COO), Chris Collins as its new (COO), effective next month.
November 2009: French slot coordinator (COHOR) said it redistributed a pool of 6,672 slots at Paris Orly for the summer 2010 season, with half awarded to carriers with new entrant status and half to incumbents. New entrant slots were allocated to easyJet Switzerland (TEB) for two daily flights to Venice, Vueling Airlines (VUZ)/(CLK)`and Pegasus Airlines (PGS) for one daily flight each and to Wizz Air (WZZ) for four weekly flights to Bratislava. Incumbent slots were allocated to (TAP) Portugal for three daily flights, Iberia (IBE) for one daily flight, Midex Airlines (MIX) for three weekly flights, and Air Algerie (ALG) for one weekly flight.
Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin thrice-weekly, Budapest - Forli Bologna service on March 30. (WZZ) will base a third A320 at Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) from June 12 and launch thrice-weekly service to Pisa and Cuneo. (WZZ) also will launch thrice-weekly, Bucharest Baneasa - Pisa on June 12, twice-weekly, Timisoara - Forli on March 29 and thrice-weekly, Budapest - Forli on March 30. (WZZ) said more new destinations from (CLJ) will be announced "shortly."
(WZZ) won’t establish a base in Bratislava after failing to negotiate a deal with the city’s airport. (WZZ) was weighing the option of filling the vacuum left by SkyEurope (SKP).
Wizz Air (WZZ) announced the launch of a Web check-in service starting with flights from Budapest and extending to the rest of the network by next spring.
December 2009: Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin serving Latvia next spring with flights from Riga to London Luton (thrice-weekly), Oslo Torp (thrice-weekly) and Turku (twice-weekly) launching on March 28. Twice-weekly, Prague - Bari and Budapest - Turku flights will begin at the same time.
(WZZ) will increase Polish capacity by +30% next year, adding three new A320s and 22 routes. It will carry 3.6 million passengers in Poland in 2009. (WZZ) will base 14 airplanes in Poland by next March and launch the following new routes beginning this week: From Katowice to Madrid (March 30), Lubeck (March 30), Pisa (March 29), Bergen (March 28) and Bourgas (June 12); from Gdansk to Eindhoven (EIN), Bergen, Paris Beauvais (BVA) and Bergamo (BGY); Wroclaw to Oslo Torp, Dortmund, (BVA), Doncaster Sheffield (March 12), (EIN) (March 12), Forli (March 12), (BGY) (March 13) and Cork (March 14); Poznan to (BVA) (March 14), (BGY) (March 28) and Bourgas (June 12); Warsaw to Barcelona (March 29), (EIN) (March 30), Treviso (March 30) and Bourgas (June12); Lodz to Dortmund (March 30).
CEO, Jozsef Varadi claimed (WZZ) will overtake (LOT) Polish Airlines in terms of passengers carried in Poland.
A320-232 (4109, HA-LPY), delivery.
January 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) said it transported 7.8 million passengers in 2009, up +33% from 2008, as it opened its 11th base (Prague), increased its A320 fleet to 27 airplanes from 20 and launched 40 new routes. It said it will be "opening new operating bases, launching new routes, adding more capacity and carrying over >10 million passengers" in 2010.
(WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Warsaw - Turku service on April 10 and four-times-weekly, Katowice - Dusseldorf Weeze flights on June 13.
(WZZ) is to move into the Latvian market by operating several routes from its capital, Riga to London, Lutonj, Oslo Torp, and Turku (Finland) from March. Each will be served three times weekly. Competition is Air Baltic (BAU). (WZZ) will launch service to Belgrade with thrice-weekly flights from Dortmund (June 12) and London Luton (July 24). It also will base a fourth A320 at Bucharest Baneasa from June 26 and launch new twice-weekly service to Turin, Dusseldorf Weeze, and Zaragoza, while increasing frequencies to Barcelona, London Luton, Rome Ciampino, and Treviso. (WZZ) announced new twice-weekly service from Cluj Napoca to Weeze (June 26) and Zaragoza (June 12).
(WZZ) will introduce an airport check-in fee on April 1, by which time its Web check-in facility should be fully deployed. Airport check-in purchased at the time of booking will cost €5/$7.25, or €10, if purchased at the airport on the day of departure. Web check-in will remain free.
A320-232 (4174, HA-LPZ), delivery.
February 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Budapest - Pisa service on July 1. (WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Lviv - Treviso service May 14 aboard a new A320.
March 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) introduced "Wizz Flex," a €10/$13.59 supplement available for purchase during the booking process that will allow the customer to alter the date, time and routing of a flight up to 3 hours prior to departure with no change fee (although any difference in fare must be paid).
Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) signed a five-year exclusive deal with Wizz Air (WZZ) for approximately 150 "C" maintenance checks on (WZZ)'s current and future A320 fleet. Work ranging from C1 up to C4/C8 will be carried out by Lufthansa Technik Budapest.
2 A320-232s (4223, HA-LWA; 4246, HA-LWB), delivery, sold to Babcock (BBB) and leased back.
May 2010: A320-232 (4308, LZ-WZC), delivery, wet-leased to Wizz Air Bulgaria (WVL).
June 2010: A320-232 (4323, HA-LWC), sold to AerCap (DEA) on delivery and leased back, ex-(F-WWDT).
August 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch A320 service from Belgrade to Rome Fiumicino (thrice-weekly, December 15), Malmo (twice-weekly, December 15), Stockholm Skavsta (twice-weekly, April 3, 2011), Eindhoven (twice-weekly, April 1) and Munich - Memmingen (twice-weekly, April 3). Belgrade will become (WZZ)'s 13th operating base.
September 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) has announced new routes this summer season including its first two services from Belgrade:
Belgrade - Dortmund: 3x weekly, A320-200 service started on June 12;
Belgrade - London Luton: 4x weekly, A320-200 service started on June 30;
Bucharest Baneasa - Cuneo: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on June 30;
Bucharest Baneasa - Dusseldorf Weeze: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on July 3;
Bucharest Baneasa - Zaragoza: 3x weekly, A320-200 service started on July 3;
Budapest - Antalya: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service starting on June 18, 2011;
Budapest - Bari: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on July 26;
Budapest - Catania: weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on June 21;
Budapest - Frankfurt Hahn: 3x weekly, A320-200 service resumed on June 24;
Budapest - Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen: 4x weekly, A320-200 service started on December 17;
Budapest - Pisa: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on July 1;
Cluj - Alicante: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on June 24;
Cluj - Dusseldorf Weeze: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on July 24;
Cluj - Zaragoza: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on July 24;
Gdansk - Barcelona: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on April 24;
Gdansk - Tampere: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on June 12;
Lodz - Stockholm Skavsta: 2x weekly, A320-200 service starting on December 18;
London Luton - Dubrovnik: 3x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on June 26;
London Luton - Split: 4x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service resumed on June 30;
Poznan - Milan Orio al Serio: weekly seasonal, A320-200 service resuming on January 15, 2011 (now becoming a winter only service, flights have been cancelled earlier this summer);
Prague - Catania: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on July 3;
Timisoara - Madrid: 2x weekly, A320-200 service started on May 3;
Warsaw - Madrid: 2x weekly seasonal, A320-200 service started on April 24.
(WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Brno – London Luton (LTN) service on December 16 and will increase Prague - (LTN) service to nine-times-weekly on October 31, operating the route 11-times-weekly, December 19 to January 9. It will also launch twice-weekly, Lviv – Memmingen service and twice-weekly, Kiev – Stockholm Skavsta flights on December 18.
Wizz (WZZ) has already terminated its routes from Katowice to Bergen, Dusseldorf Weeze, Hamburg Lübeck, Memmingen, and Pisa, from Riga to Turku, from Wroclaw to Milan Orio al Serio, and from Zagreb to Dortmund already after a very short time and will give up its routes from Bucharest Baneasa to Dusseldorf Weeze, from Gdansk to Tampere, from Prague to Malmö and Oslo Torp, and from Warsaw to Cork and Venice Treviso in September and October. It has also stopped serving Gothenburg City from Gdansk and Liverpool, as well as Paris Beauvais from Prague. Its subsidiary Wizz Air Bulgaria (WVL) has taken delivery of a third A320-200 but will give up its domestic route from Sofia to Varna on October 29. In an interesting move, Wizz Air (WZZ) has applied for slots to serve Copenhagen and Paris Orly later this year, which would mean a slow deviation from its previous policy to serve secondary airports such as Malmö and Paris Beauvais in these two cases.
Wizz Air (WZZ) is stepping up connections between the UK and the Czech Republic following the decision by Czech Airlines (CSA) to withdraw services on its UK routes. (WZZ) is to open a new thrice-weekly route between Brno and London Luton from 16 December, and will increase frequencies on its Prague - London link to nine times per week next month.
(WZZ) claims it is "well on track to take over the market leadership in the near future". (CSA) has disclosed that it plans to axe several connections from Prague, including its UK routes.
Two other routes, both from Ukraine, are also being opened by (WZZ)'s local operation.
Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) is to serve Kiev - Stockholm Skavsta twice-weekly, and open an Allgau - Memmingen link from Lviv - its third route from the city after Dortmund and Venice - from 18 December.
October 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) will base a fifth airplane at Bucharest on December 15, increasing service to Barcelona (four-times-weekly to six), Milan Bergamo (six-times-weekly to nine), Paris Beauvais (thrice-weekly to four), Rome Ciampino (11-times-weekly to 14), Brussels Charleroi (four-times-weekly to six), Catania (twice-weekly to four), Cuneo (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly), Forli (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly), London Luton (11-times-weekly to 14), Madrid (thrice-weekly to four), Naples (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly), Valencia (thrice-weekly to four), and will launch new twice-weekly service to Larnaca and Malaga.
November 2010: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch service from Vilnius (its 14th operating base) to London Luton (five-times-weekly, on April 17), Cork (twice-weekly, on April 16), Eindhoven (twice-weekly, on April 18), Stockholm Skavsta (thrice-weekly, on April 16), Milan Bergamo (twice-weekly, on April 17), Rome Fiumicino (thrice-weekly, on April 16), Barcelona (twice-weekly, on April 18) and Doncaster Sheffield (twice-weekly, on April 17) aboard an A320.
December 2010: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) and Wizz Air (WZZ) reached a five-year line maintenance services agreement including "A"-checks for eight A320s based in Bucharest, Timisoara, and Cluj, as well as a further two A320s based in Prague, beginning in February.
January 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch Vilnius - London Luton service on April 17. (WZZ) is adding four new routes from Poland, an economy that’s growing in size and stature within the European Union (EU). It will connect Gdansk with Stavanger, Gothenburg, and Aarhus, all in Scandinavia, as well as Poznan with Barcelona. (WZZ) is separately linking Belgrade to Gothenburg and Brussels Charleroi, and Brno to Rome Fiumicino. And it’s starting four new Romanian routes: Cluj - Larnaca, Tirgu Mures - London Luton, and Bucharest to Bari and Alicante.
(WZZ) is the only major Low Cost Carrier (LCC) with a sizable presence in the Ukraine. But it’s not happy with serving Kiev’s main airport, prompting a shift to an alternative facility that’s less congested and closer to the city’s downtown. In March, (WZZ) will move its base from Kiev Borispol (KBP) to Kiev Zhuliani (IEV). The affected routes: Antalya, Cologne, Dortmund, Hamburg, Memmingen, Katowice, London Luton, Oslo Torp, Stockholm Skavsta, Simferopol, and Treviso near Venice.
February 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) transported 9.6 million passengers in 2010, a +23% year-over-year improvement. Load factor stayed flat at 84% LF.
(WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Skopje - London Luton service on June 20.
March 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced it will this year open its fourth Romanian base in Tirgu Mures (TGM). (WZZ) will initially deploy one A320 at (TGM) to serve Barcelona (thrice-weekly, June 18), Rome Fiumicino (twice-weekly, June 20), Paris Beauvais (twice-weekly, June 19), Milan Bergamo (thrice-weekly, June 18), Madrid (twice-weekly, June 19), Dortmund (thrice-weekly, June 18), and Bologna Forli twice-weekly, June 20). It already operates to (TGM) from Budapest and London Luton (LTN) four-times-weekly.
CEO, Jozsef Varadi said,"This is another milestone in our Romanian operations that indicates our commitment to the Romanian passengers in offering truly affordable fares and a fast-growing network."
(WZZ) will launch service from (TGM) to Barcelona (thrice-weekly, June 18), Rome Fiumicino (twice-weekly, June 20), Paris Beauvais (twice-weekly, June 19), Milan Bergamo (thrice-weekly, June 18), Madrid (twice-weekly, June 19), Dortmund (thrice-weekly, June 18) and Bologna Forli (twice-weekly, June 20). It will also increase its thrice-weekly (TGM) - (LTN) service to four-times-weekly.
May 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Vilnius - Dortmund service on August 2 and twice-weekly, Skopje - Venice Treviso service on September 20.
June 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Kiev Zhuliany - Girona service on September 6. (WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Brno - Eindhoven service on December 16.
July 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Lodz - London Luton service on September 13.
FL Technics won a contract with Wizz Air (WZZ) to maintain (WZZ)'s A320 airplanes at its base in Vilnius. It will provide all-inclusive line maintenance support as well as additional support services.
August 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch thrice-weekly, Warsaw - Stavanger service in April 2012. It also announced it will add a fourth A320 to its Warsaw base in April 2012, increasing services to London Luton (21-times-weekly to 25-times-weekly), Brussels Charleroi (five-times-weekly to daily), Stockholm Skavsta (five-times-weekly to daily), Rome Fiumicino (five-times-weekly to daily), Milan Bergamo (twice-weekly to four-times-weekly), Gothenburg (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly), Oslo Sandefjord Torp (thrice-weekly to five-times-weekly), Barcelona (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly) and Eindhoven (twice-weekly to thrice-weekly) from April 2012.
(WZZ) will launch twice-weekly, Riga - Eindhoven service on December 9.
October 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) is a low-cost carrier (LCC) based in Hungary, linking Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, and Romania with points in the Mediterranean, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, and Scandinavia.
Employees = 450.
(IATA) Code: W6. (ICAO) Code: WZZ (Callsign - WIZZAIR).
Parent organization/shareholders: European institutions and private investors, Indigo Partners.
Main Base: Budapest Ferihegy Airport (BUD) and Katowice airport (KTW).
Hubs: Cluj airport (CLJ); Warsaw Frederic Chopin airport (WAW); & Gdansk airport (GDN); Wroclaw airport (WRO); Gdansk airport (GDN); Poznan airport (POZ); Timisoara airport (TSR); Sofia International airport (SOF); Bucharest Baneasa airport (BBU); Kiev Borispol International airport (KBP); & Prague Ruzyne airport (PRG).
International, scheduled destinations: Amsterdam; Arad; Athens; Barcelona; Belfast; Bergamo; Birmingham; Bourgas; Bournemouth; Brussels; Bucharest; Budapest; Cluj; Cologne; Copenhagen; Corfu; Cork; Coventry; Crakow; Crete; Doncaster-Sheffield; Dortmund; Durham Tees Valley; Eindhoven; Frankfurt; Gdansk; Glasgow; Gothenburg; Grenoble; Hamburg; Heraklion; Izmir; Katowice; Kaunas; Kharkov; Kiev; Liverpool; Ljubljana; London; Lubek; L'viv; Malmo; Manchester; Milan; Odessa; Oslo; Palma; Paris; Parma; Poznan; Rhodes; Prague; Rome; Sheffield; Simferopol; Sofia; Split; Stockholm; Timisoara; Tirgu-mures; Treviso; Turku; Valencia; Varna; Vilnius; Warsaw; Wroclaw; Zagreb; & Zaporyzhzhia.
(WZZ) will cancel 10% and reschedule 75% of its winter timetable to/from Bucharest Baneasa Airport; beginning October 29, flights will not be permitted to operate between 22:00 and 06:00 at the airport.
Avolon (AZV) completed a sale and leaseback transaction with Wizz Air (WZZ) for three new A320 airplanes to be delivered in the first half of 2012.
November 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) has introduced reserved seating across its network.
(WZZ) will base a sixth A320 at Bucharest Baneasa from June 2012. This airplane will enable (WZZ) to support a new route to Verona (VRN) and increase frequencies on existing routes to Milan Bergamo, Venice Treviso, Madrid, Dortmund, Bari, Cuneo Turin, Catania, Forli Bologna, and Pisa. The new route to (VRN) will initially operate 3X weekly from June 23 and increase the number of destinations (WZZ) serves from its (BBU) base to 20.
“Wizz Air (WZZ) is Romania’s single largest airline by now with well over >2.5 million passengers to be carried in 2011. Next year, we will have a fleet of 10 most modern A320 airplanes operating from our four bases: Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara and Tirgu Mures, an investment of around €0.5 billion/$686 million,” CEO, Jozsef Varadi said. “We created about +3,000 jobs in the country and have become an essential part of Romania’s transport infrastructure.”
(WZZ) operates 35 A320s from 15 bases in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Lithuania. (WZZ) will increase its service from Timisoara to Dortmund (2X-weekly to 3X-weekly) March 27 and to Paris Beauvais (2X-weekly to 3X-weekly), London Luton (3X-weekly to 4X-weekly), Forli Bologna (2X-weekly to 3X-weekly), and Rome Fiumicino (3X-weekly to 4X-weekly) June 23.
December 2011: Wizz Air (WZZ) has performed well in its Poland and Romania markets. (WZZ) is now adding its 21st route from Bucharest next summer to Palma de Mallorca, Spain, plus its 21st and 22nd routes from Gdansk to Trondheim and Haugesund, both in Norway. It's also adding more frequencies to Oslo Torp from Gdansk. (WZZ) will launch 2X-weekly, Budapest - Dortmund service on January 13, increasing to 3X-weekly, on March 27. It will restart service at Lviv International following the completion of runway reconstruction, with service to Dortmund (2X-weekly, on March 30) and Venice Treviso (3X-weekly, on March 31).
Wizz Air (WZZ) has launched a new “Wizz Reserved Seat” program, which allows passengers to purchase a guaranteed seat located in the first two rows of the airplane. The new feature also provides the option of priority boarding.
January 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) carried 11.2 million passengers in 2011, up +16.7% from 2010.
(WZZ) is continuing with its network expansion from its various bases in Eastern Europe:
Bucharest Baneasa - Palma de Mallorca: 2x weekly service starting on June 25;
Bucharest Baneasa - Verona: 3x weekly service starting on June 23;
Budapest - Dortmund: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on January 13 (replacing route to Dusseldorf Weeze) *SEE BELOW;
Gdansk - Haugesund: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on April 4;
Gdansk - Trondheim: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on April 1;
Katowice - Stavanger: 2x weekly service starting on April 25;
Riga - Eindhoven: 2x weekly A320-200 service has started on December 9;
Vilnius - Bergen: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on May 27;
Vilnius - Liverpool: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on May 28;
Vilnius - Oslo Torp: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on May 27;
Vilnius - Paris Beauvais: 2x weekly A320-200 service starting on May 28;
Warsaw - Stavanger: 3x weekly A320-200 service starting on March 27.
It has suspended its routes from Bucharest Baneasa to Alicante and Larnaca, from Gdansk to Aarhus, and from Prague to Brussels Charleroi on November 1.
* Wizz Air (WZZ) moved one of the German routes operated out of its home base in Budapest (BUD) on 13 January. (WZZ) suspended its route to Weeze and now instead serves Dortmund (DTM) with its 180Y-seat A320s; initially twice-weekly, but increasing to three times a week at the start of the summer scheduling season. Competition comes from easyJet (EZY), which has operated the route since 2004, currently with three times a week.
February 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced it will invest HUF25 billion/$100 million into expanding its Budapest operations after state-owned Malev Hungarian Airlines (HGA) ceased operations.
(WZZ) will launch 2X-weekly Vilnius - Stavanger service on May 27.
(WZZ) said it will add two A320s at the base in March, representing a +66% increase in capacity. It expects yearly passengers carried to reach 2 million (up +42.9% over its previous estimate of 1.4 million).
It will also launch one new route: 3X-weekly, Budapest - Bucharest, and will increase frequencies to London Luton, Brussels Charleroi, Eindhoven, Milan Bergamo, Rome, Barcelona, Malmo, Madrid, Stockholm Skavsta, Bourgas, Bari, Dortmund, Gothenburg, Tirgu Mures, Frankfurt Hahn, Naples, Bologna Forli, Turku, Catania, Pisa, Palma de Mallorca, Corfu, and Antalya.
Between the new route and the increased frequencies, (WZZ)’s weekly flights will nearly double from 67 to 129.
(WZZ) operates a fleet of 34 A320 airplanes from 15 bases.
"Wizz Air (WZZ) remains highly committed to Hungary, our homeland,” (WZZ) (CEO), József Váradi said. “We have been growing year-on-year since the start of operation in 2004. We will continue to meet the increase in consumer demand and continue to offer new jobs in Budapest.”
April 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) had a net profit of +Euro 40 million/+$52 million for the financial year ending 31st March 2012.
(WZZ) has launched three new routes from the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) to help fill the void left by the demise of Malev (HGA) earlier this year. Bulgaria’s capital Sofia (SOF) will be served with three weekly flights, Larnaca (LCA) in Cyprus with two weekly flights (until 24 October), and Malaga (AGP) in Spain with weekly flights in April, and then two weekly flights from mid-June until the end of September. The only direct competition on these routes comes from Ryanair (RYR) that also serves Malaga from Budapest. (WZZ) previously operated between Budapest and Sofia from September 2005 until October 2006. This summer, (WZZ) will now serve over >30 destinations non-stop from Budapest. The new routes have been made possible by the arrival of a sixth A320 to be based at the airport. According to György Abrán, (WZZ)’s (CCO): “With the arrival of the sixth airplane in Budapest, (WZZ) takes its place as the airline with the largest fleet based in the Hungarian capital city. This is an important milestone for a company with its roots in Hungary and such a significant number of Hungarian staff. Our company continues to grow and with that growth will come more opportunities for passengers to enjoy our winning combination of low fares and great customer experience.”
May 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) has doubled its fleet at Budapest Ferihegy International airport (BUD) to six A320s in less than three months.
(WZZ), which announced it would invest HUF25 billion/$100 million into expanding its Budapest operations after state-owned Malev Hungarian Airlines (HGA) ceased operations in February, will offer flights to 32 destinations from (BUD) during this summer. It is planning 22 routes for the winter schedule, up from 16 last year.
Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch Ljubljana service to Brussels Charleroi (October 29) and London Luton (October 30).
(WZZ) in December will launch 2X-weekly Debrecen airport (DBE) - Eindhoven and 2X-weekly (DBE) - Milan Malpensa services, where it will create +100 additional jobs.
(WZZ) closed the financial year March 31 in “solid financial position” and will continue double-digit growth in the coming fiscal year, it said. No more financial details were given.
During the last fiscal year, (WZZ) carried more than >11 million passengers, 1.3 million of which were on routes to/from Budapest. It achieved an average load factor of 85% LF across its network.
May 2012: Belle Air (BEL) and Wizz Air (WZZ) might have to move their flights operating to Forli (FRL) later this year unless a new airport operator can be found. Current airport operator (SEAF) has entered voluntary liquidation proceedings given it could no longer finance its losses. The Italian civil aviation authority (ENAC) will now finance operations at the airport for additional four months to allow time for a tender to be published to try and find a new airport operator. If that turns out to be unsuccessful Belle Air (BEL) would have to cancel its twice weekly service to Tirana Rinas Mother Teresa airport (TIA) (it already serves both Bologna Giuseppe Marconi (BLQ) and Rimini Federico Fellini International (RMI) airports anyway) and Wizz Air (WZZ) would have to move its flights to Forli from Bucharest Otopeni Henri Coanda International (OTP), Budapest Ferenc Liszt International (BUD), Cluj-Napoca Someseni (CLJ), Katowice Pyrzowice (KTW), Sofia International (SOF), Timisoara Traian Vuia International (TSR) and Warsaw Fryderyk Chopin (WAW) airports elsewhere.
(WZZ) is expected to be one of the bidders for a tender published by the Macedonian government that is looking for a low-cost carrier (LCC) to operate six routes to the Benelux region, Central Europe, Italy, Scandinavia and Spain according to "EX-YU Aviation News."
June 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) has responded to the arrival of Ryanair (RYR) on its ‘patch’ by adding three new routes from the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) to Greek island airports; Heraklion (HER), Rhodes (RHO) and Zakynthos (ZTH). All of these routes will be served just weekly, with SmartWings (TVS) also starting Heraklion and Rhodes flights this week. (WZZ) has also decided to move its 11 weekly Milan flights from Bergamo to Milan Malpensa (MXP), presumably in response to (RYR)’s launch of Budapest – Bergamo flights back in February, as well as the bankruptcy of Malev (HGA), which used to operate to Malpensa. “We are very happy to welcome (WZZ) first flight ever to Malpensa thus bringing back the direct connection to Budapest” said David Crognaletti, Director of Aviation Business Development of SEA, Milan Airports. “Milan Malpensa network will be enriched by this new direct route and the two more, still to come, to Bucharest and Debrecen, that will bring East Europe nearer to Milan. We are constantly improving our offer to business and leisure passengers as well as to the customers of viaMilano, our free service that connects travelers of different airlines in Milan Malpensa.” Finally, (WZZ) has launched its first flights from Debrecen (DEB) in Hungary to London Luton (LTN). This is planned as a year-round service with three weekly flights. Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary with a population of around 200,000 people and is located in the east of the country, less than <200 kilometres from Budapest.
FL Technics signed a long-term comprehensive line maintenance support agreement with Wizz Air (WZZ) covering two A320s.
July 2012: Warsaw-Modlin Mazovia Airport (WMI), the second international passenger airport in the Polish capital, has just opened. The airport, formerly an unused military airfield, will be mainly used by low-cost carriers (LCCs).
Ryanair (RYR), one of the first carriers to use the airport, is expecting to transport around 1.5 million passengers from (WMI). The (LCC) is eyeing services to Barcelona, Bologna, Bristol, Brussels, Budapest, Dublin, Dusseldorf, East Midlands, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Rome, and Stockholm.
Wizz Air (WZZ) will transfer all flights from Warsaw Chopin Airport to (WMI) and will start operations July 18; it plans to serve up to 20 destinations from (WMI).
(WMI), which offers 10 remote parking stands, can handle about 5,000 passengers per day.
September 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) has been assigned traffic rights previously allocated to bankrupt Hungarian national carrier Malev (HGA) allowing it to launch two new routes from its Budapest home base. Starting December 6, (WZZ) will operate three weekly services from Budapest to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion (TLV), followed by a three times weekly flight to Kiev Zhulyany airport (IEV) from December 14.
October 2012: Passenger numbers at Dortmund airport, Germany, in the first eight months of this year are up over >9%, well above the Dortmund airport average of just 2.1%. New routes started this year include Wizz Air (WZZ) to Budapest (in January) and Lviv (in March), with a new twice-weekly service to Skopje in Macedonia due to start shortly at the beginning of the winter season.
In the last 18 months, Wizz Air (WZZ) has been the only airline to introduce significant new services from Dortmund airport with the addition of flights to Targu Mures (May 2011), Vilnius (July 2011), Budapest, Lviv, and soon Skopje. easyJet (EZY)’s last new route launch at the airport was Zagreb in February 2011, but this service was dropped in mid-May of this year.
(WZZ) launched six new routes; one from Ljubljana (LJU), Slovenia’s capital, and five from the launch of a base in Macedonia’s capital Skopje (SKP). Each of the routes is operated twice-weekly with the low-cost carrier (LCC)’s 180Y-seat A320s. John Stevenson, Executive VP, Wizz Air (WZZ), commented at the base launch: “We are very happy that it is Skopje, where today we open our 16th low-cost base. Since our announcement of the six new exciting destinations, the users from Macedonia and the countries with which we connect Skopje, have gathered on our website to use the low-cost fares, and over >25,000 passengers have already booked their flights from Skopje to the new destinations.”
Macedonia, sometimes referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), is home to two international airports; Skopje Alexander the Great Airport that serves the country capital, and the smaller Ohrid St Paul the Apostle Airport, serving the World Heritage Site city by Lake Ohrid. Both are run by (TAV) of Turkey.
If excluding the years 1999 - 2000, when Macedonian airports experienced considerable traffic increases because of conflict in neighboring countries, passenger figures in Skopje reached record levels last year. Since 2003, the airport has only seen its growth trend interrupted one year, in 2009, when Macedonia’s flag carrier MAT Macedonian Airlines (MCC) suspended operations. Meanwhile, Ohrid has also seen positive development and doubled its passenger throughput between 2009 and 2011.
Macedonia’s flag carrier, MAT Macedonian Airlines (MCC) suspended operations in 2009 and the privately owned successor, MAT Airways (MCC), closed down last year. Ever since, the country has been left without a locally based airline. However, at the start of the winter scheduling season, Wizz Air (WZZ) has established a base in Skopje, basing one 180-seat A320 airplane and has instantly become the airport’s biggest airline with almost a third of total seat capacity. Prior to the base opening, (WZZ) served Skopje with two routes; from London Luton and Venice Treviso.
Another new entry to the Skopje market is that of flydubai (FDB), which launched its twice-weekly flights from Dubai on 18 October. (FDB) will overtake only airberlin (BER)’s Swiss subsidiary, Belair (BLB) and rank as Skopje’s second-smallest airline. Notably, (FDB)’s links with Emirates (EAD) creates connection opportunities in Dubai, not the least to and from Australia, which is home to a considerable Macedonian community.
(WZZ) will launch 3X-weekly, Budapest - Geneva service on December 14. (WZZ) received approval to launch 3X-weekly, Budapest - Kiev Zhuliany on December 14, increasing to 4X-weekly on March 31.
Wizz Air (WZZ) made use of its Ukrainian subsidiary, Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU)’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and launched a new international route from its Ukrainian base at Kiev Zhulyany (IEV). (WAU) now flies twice a week to the newly reopened airport in Kutaisi (KUT), the second-largest city in Georgia. At the start of the winter scheduling season, (WAU)'s 180Y-seat A320s will increase frequencies to three weekly flights. Although this currently is the only route operating to Kutaisi, both S7 (SBR) and Belavia (BLV) are planning to launch Moscow and Minsk flights later this month.
November 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) continued last month’s expansion in both Ljubljana (LJU) and Skopje (SKP) on 30 October. (WZZ) now offers thrice-weekly services from the Slovenian capital to its de facto base at London Luton (LTN). Wizz Air (WZZ)’s youngest base (LTN), which only officially launched last week, is in its turn now connected with twice-weekly flights to Basel (BSL) on the borders between Switzerland, France and Germany.
December 2012: Wizz Air (WZZ) inaugurated thrice-weekly services from Budapest (BUD) to Tel Aviv (TLV) on 6 December, as it further develops its relationship with the Hungarian airport. József Váradi, (WZZ)’s (CEO), said: “We hope that today’s first flight to Tel Aviv will be followed by many more exciting routes offered to Hungarian consumers as (WZZ) continues to expand its route network.” (WZZ) already announced that it was to increase the frequencies to daily during the summer 2013 peak due to high demand. El Al (ELA)’s four-weekly flights provide competition on the 2,200 km route.
(WZZ) launched Budapest Airbus A320 service to Kiev (4X-weekly) and Geneva (3X-weekly) on December 14. Budapest - Kiev will increase to daily service from March 2013, when (WZZ) will base a seventh A320 at Budapest. (WZZ) will also increase frequencies from Budapest to Dortmund, Eindhoven, Kiev, Larnaca, Malaga, and Naples, and will be reintroducing services to Thessaloniki for the summer season.
January 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) inaugurated operations at the second Polish airport opened in 2012 Lublin (LUZ), on 18 December, one day after its arch-rival Ryanair (RYR) did the same. (WZZ) now offers respectively twice-weekly flights from Lublin to both London Luton (LTN) and Oslo Torp (TRF).
February 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch service from Kutaisi to Warsaw (2X-weekly, May 15), Donetsk (2X-weekly, April 23), Kharkiv (2X-weekly, July 1) and will increase Kiev service to daily, on April 1.
The slow demise of Ukrainian airline AeroSvit (UKA) is a ‘route un-development’ story also encompassing its partners Donbassaero (UDC) and Dniproavia (UDN) (all owned by the same Ukrainian billionaire, Ihor Kolomoisky, who also owned the now defunct Cimber Sterling (STR), Skyways and City Airline).
National carrier Ukraine International Airlines (UKR) has rushed in to rescue passengers and help plug the route gaps: (UKR) has already set-up 27 new or replacement routes ready to start in 2013. UTair Ukraine (UTN) also has three new services in the database, in addition to those from (UKR). However, Ukrainian consumers fear these solutions mean more of the same, and are looking for something fresh on the airline choice menu.
Enter Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU), the shining low-cost knight, and full subsidiary of the main originally Hungarian airline (WZZ) now based in Geneva (still with us??). As of April, Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) will operate to 14 destinations from Kiev’s Zhulyany Airport* (a cheap secondary airport not to be confused with Kiev Boryspil), but it has been lobbying the Ukrainian authorities for route licenses on multiple destinations for years. Although the airline is still yet to receive an official “yes” to these demands, Wizz Air (WZZ) bosses see the AeroSvit (UKA) failure as an opportunity, although they question the Ukrainian government’s transparency. “I don’t want to challenge Ukraine legally, but there is obviously something unfair going on,” says Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU)’s boss, Ákos Bús. “We want to be considered as a fully-fledged Ukrainian carrier, because Wizz Air (WZZ) is ready to invest in the market heavily and what is happening now is a monopoly, which will result in fewer travellers.”
(*A comment from Martin Nunn (a reader of the above statement), replied: "Zhuliany is less than 15 minutes from the city center, has brand new facilities and an almost 100% baggage security record. Hardly a cheap secondary airport.
Given the choice, most passengers would rather fly from Zhuliany because Boryspil is too far out, too expensive (sometimes the taxi fare to the airport is more than the cost of the airline ticket) and you practically need to put your baggage in a safe to stop it being raided.
As for cheap, Ukrainian airports on par are ridiculously expensive when compared to European counterparts and fuel is up to $200 a ton more expensive, so no wonder so few international carriers think its worth it and the airport authorities only have themselves to blame.")
SEE ATTACHED - - "WAU-ROUTE MAP - 2013-02."
A total of 20 new routes from Kiev Zhulyany have been proposed, 19 of which were previously served by AeroSvit (UKA), and half to new destinations outside of both Wizz Air (WZZ) and Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU)’s current portfolio. Unsurprisingly, it is (WAU)’s plans to fly to Moscow, St Petersburg and Dubai that are receiving the most interest, as the airline does not currently fly to either Russia or the (UAE). If these plans come to fruition, Wizz Air (WZZ) would be following in easyJet (EZY)’s footsteps by launching low-cost flights to Russia, with the UK airline’s new services from London Gatwick and Manchester starting this March. However, unlike easyJet (EZY), which is flying to Moscow Domodedevo, (WZZ) is talking to Moscow’s Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports with regards to its establishing its Moscow home.
While serving Dubai and Russia have grabbed the headlines, services to cities like Astana, Chisinau (notably not served by AeroSvit (UKA) in the last two summer seasons), Yerevan, Baku and Minsk would represent entirely new destinations and country markets for Wizz Air (WZZ). Operations to Istanbul and Batumi would also be new destinations, but not new country markets, as Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) will fly to the southern Turkish resort of Antalya from Kiev Zhulyany twice-weekly and Kutaisa (Georgia) five-weekly from this summer.
These new points on the Wizz Air (WZZ) route map will have airports in its current 16-base network licking their respective route development lips – as the low-cost carrier (LCC), like most of its peers, will no doubt start looking to ‘join the dots’ by linking the existing bases to its new destinations. Seven of its existing bases currently have no services to any of the 10 new destinations being suggested by Wizz Air (WZZ), with airports like Warsaw and Prague being the best served, having six of the 10 points already covered. With flag carriers operating on many of these routes, some of the airports will be hoping Wizz Air (WZZ) will give them a chance to stimulate sleepy markets with low-cost competition.
Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) boss, Akos Bús suggested that if (WAU)’s applications are granted, the airline would increase its fleet to eight airplanes over the next three years. If Wizz Air (WZZ) were to match AeroSvit (UKS)’s frequencies on the 20 routes and, assuming the airplanes operate the low-cost standard of three flights per day each, the 128 weekly frequencies would indeed require six further based airplanes, in addition to the two which are currently registered to Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) and based at Kiev. Airplane number three will arrive in Kiev by end-March, with another scheduled to start flying from Kiev Zhulyany in July, allowing the carrier to carry 1.3 million annual passengers.
Wizz Air (WZZ) expects to receive a response from Ukraine’s aviation authorities soon. “We are talking about weeks,” Bús said. However, the airline may still get frustrated by bureaucrats at the other end of the route, having just this week been asked to submit additional information to the Russian Transport Ministry for its planned Budapest - Moscow route. Wizz Air (WZZ) was already granted traffic rights from the Hungarian end last autumn, following last year’s demise of national carrier Malév (HGA), but as of now it is still waiting to gain access. Clearly these are frustrating times for a low-cost carrier (LCC) used to quickly starting up flights across liberalized (EU) markets. But what is clear, is that its plans from Kiev Zhulyany are giving us some clues as to where Wizz Air (WZZ)’s sights are being set for future route growth: East!
SEE ATTACHED PHOTO - - "WZZ-2013-02 - AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL ATC OPENS."
March 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) is to launch 2X weekly, Katowice (southern Poland) to Kutaisi in Georgia on May 18. Katowice becomes the second (EU) airport to have a direct link with the Georgian city, Kutaisi.
(WZZ) moved its Glasgow operation from Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) to Glasgow (GLA). Beginning on 1 and 3 March, respectively, (WZZ)’s Warsaw (WAW) and Gdansk (GDN) services changed airports with unchanged frequencies (twice-weekly from the Polish capital and weekly from Gdansk). Ryanair (RYR) provides indirect competition on the route from Warsaw, which it serves with thrice-weekly flights.
(WZZ) expanded its offering to Scandinavia from two northern Polish airports this month. Following the launches, (WZZ) now offers flights to nine destinations in the region from Gdansk (GDN), and is the only carrier to provide competition to Norwegian (NWG) in Szczecin (SZZ), which (NWG) serves with twice-weekly flights from Oslo. Szczecin becomes the eighth Polish airport served by (WZZ); the other seven are Gdansk, Katowice, Lodz, Lublin, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw.
14 March 2013 Gdansk (GDN) to Alesund (AES) 3X wkly, A320
15 March 2013 Szczecin (SZZ) to Stavanger (SVG) 2X wkly A320
16 March 2013 Szczecin (SZZ) to Oslo Sandefjord (TRF) 2x wkly A320.
April 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ), which only inaugurated its presence at Debrecen (DEB) in Hungary less than a year ago, launched its third route to the city. Beginning on 23 April, (WZZ) operated a twice-weekly schedule on the 1,100 km route from Dortmund (DTM). Other destinations offered by (WZZ) from Debrecen are London Luton ((WZZ)’s first destination from the city, now served with five weekly flights), and Eindhoven, offered with twice-weekly frequencies. All flights are carried out with (WZZ)’s fleet of A320s. In addition, on 28 April, (WZZ) inaugurated the first route from Kutaisi (KUT) to the European Union (EU), as it connected the western Georgian city and Warsaw (WAW) with twice-weekly services.
(WZZ) begins 2X-weekly, Tuzla - Gotenburg on June 17. (WZZ) begins 4X-weekly, Budapest - Dubai on October 28. It also begins 2X-weekly, Budapest - Baku on June 18.
Wizz Air Hungary (WZZ), the largest Central and Eastern European low cost – low fare airline, has taken delivery of its first A320 airplane equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing tip devices. (WZZ) becomes one of the first Eastern European Airlines to do so, following the delivery in March of the first A320 with Sharklets to Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU). (WZZ)’s cumulative orders stand at 112 airplanes. Including this delivery, Wizz Air Hungary (WZZ)’s in service fleet rises to 38 A320 Family airplanes.
SEE PHOTO - - "WZZ-A320 WITH SHARKLETS - 2013-04."
May 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) inaugurated Skopje (SKP) as the second south-eastern European destination it offers from Stockholm Skavsta (NYO). Beginning on May 3rd, (WZZ), which already offers thrice-weekly flights to Belgrade in Serbia, commenced twice-weekly schedule to the Macedonian capital.
(WZZ) considerably grew its offering in Romania this month, as it launched a total of nine new routes from the country’s airports, including that from (WZZ)’s newest airport in Craiova (CRA). (WZZ), which has been consistently shifting its focus towards south-eastern Europe in recent years, now has four operational bases in Romania. In addition, on May 7th, (WZZ) added new twice-weekly service from Gdansk (GDN) to Rome Ciampino (CIA). All newly launched routes are operated with maximum thrice-weekly frequencies using 180-seat A320s. The four new routes to Rome Ciampino were, until this, all operated to Rome’s other airport at Fiumicino.
Total routes include May 7th, 3X weekly, Cluj Napoca (CLJ) to (CIA); 2X weekly, Targu Mures (TGM) to (CIA); 3X weekly, Timisoara (TSR) to (CIA); May 11th, 2X weekly, (CLJ) to Bari (BRI), and 2X weekly, (TGM) to Frankfurt Hahn (HHN); May 12th, 2X weekly, (CLJ) to Eindhoven; and May 13th, 2X weekly, (CLJ) to Brussels Charleroi (CRL), 2X weekly, Craiova (CRA) to Milan Bergamo (BGY), 2X weekly (TGM) to Bologna (BLQ). (WZZ) begins 2X-weekly, Tuzla - Gotenburg on June 17.
Next year, Budapest (and Geneva) headquartered, Wizz Air (WZZ) will celebrate its tenth anniversary, but the airline still tends not to reveal much about its inner workings, especially when it comes to its financial performance. However, one thing that can be analysed is its network and how it continues to evolve. Comparing schedule data for August 2013, with August 2012, (WZZ) (including its Ukraine-based subsidiary Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU)) will have dropped 25 routes, involving 26 airports, during that 12 month period, some in direct response to Ryanair (RYR) competition, especially at Cork, and in Poland.
However, system-wide Wizz (WZZ) (including (WAU)) capacity will grow +9% this summer, thanks to the launch of over +60 new routes across the airline’s 16 bases in Central and Eastern Europe. Closer analysis of the individual bases reveals that just 10 of the 16 are growing this summer. Three of the airline’s four Romanian bases are growing, as opposed to just one of the airline’s five Polish bases. This appears to be in response to increased pressure from (RYR) in the Polish market, whereas Romania is currently almost completely unserved by (RYR).
Cork in Ireland has seen the biggest cuts, with (WZZ) axing all six of its routes to the airport. This was in direct response to (RYR)'s decision last autumn to go head-to-head with (WZZ) on four of the six routes, and also start Kraków flights to compete with (WZZ)’s Katowice service. In addition to these dropped routes, four other routes have shifted from Rome Fiumicino to Rome Ciampino (service to Cluj Napoca, Gdansk, Targu Mures and Timisoara), four more have shifted from Forli to nearby Bologna (service to Bucharest, Cluj Napoca, Sofia and Timisoara), while Glasgow Prestwick services to Gdansk and Warsaw have switched to Glasgow International Airport. (WZZ) is also likely to be considering relocating its 17 routes from Warsaw Chopin back to Warsaw Modlin later this summer (as and when the airport is once more fully operational), including the Glasgow service.
Other growth markets for Wizz Air (WZZ) are Hungary (where Ryanair (RYR) has retreated somewhat), as well as Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine (all markets where (RYR) has yet to establish a presence). While Budapest is still (WZZ)’s leading base, it is not (WZZ)’s busiest airport. This continues to be London Luton Airport, from where (WZZ) operates over >170 weekly departures to 24 destinations this summer.
2 A320-232s (5539, UR-WRC; 5660, HA-LWV), (MC) Aviation Partners leased.
July 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) began 2X-weekly, Budapest - Baku service.
(WZZ) will permanently base its Warsaw flights from the Polish capital’s main Chopin Airport, abandoning its previous home of Warsaw-Modlin Airport. The move came following more than >6 months of temporary operations at Warsaw Chopin. Warsaw-Modlin, a former military airbase 35 km north of Warsaw, was intended as a new, lower-cost location for low cost carriers (LCC)s. It opened for civilian services in July 2012.
(WZZ) plans to fly five-weekly to Moscow Vnukovo from Budapest, starting September 23rd. Under (WZZ)’s ‘Go East’ expansion, this takes the (WZZ)'s country market count up to 36. Wizz Air (WZZ)’s airport selection in Moscow will also offer potential passengers a choice of Russian capital entry points, as incumbent Aeroflot (ARO) flies into its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub.
The Moscow route plan follows a flurry of Wizz Air (WZZ) new route announcements to a raft of new countries:
* Moldova: – Chisinau to Venice Treviso and Rome Ciampino from September 24
* United Arab Emirates (UAE): – Dubai World Central to Budapest and Kiev Zhulyany from October 28; Bucharest and Sofia from October 29.
* Egypt: – Hurghada to Warsaw and Katowice from October 31; and from Budapest from November 2.
Since Malév (HGA)’s demise last February, Aeroflot (ARO) has carved itself a cosy little monopoly route between Budapest and Moscow. Prior to the (HGA)’s failure, it commanded 54% of weekly seats and 48% of weekly frequency.
Aeroflot (ARO) has added capacity on the city pair since Malév (HGA)’s collapse, providing three extra weekly frequencies to now offer double-daily coverage. Its seats have increased more significantly (+54%), as all flights are now operated (in September 23 - 29) by its 140-seat A320s, rather than in January last year when the majority of services (nine out of 11) were flown by its 116-seat A319s. Despite these increases, there has been a -30% reduction in the total seats available in the market.
Wizz Air (WZZ)’s arrival on the Budapest - Moscow market will mean that total capacity will rise past that which was available when Malév (HGA) operated on the route. The (LCC)s market share in terms of weekly frequency will be 26%, but in terms of seats, given its higher density 180-seat A320, it will command 31%. Like easyJet (EZY)’s arrival on the London - Moscow market earlier this year, Wizz Air (WZZ)’s touchdown in Russia will certainly shake-up the market mix on flights to central and eastern Europe, as the airline will undoubtedly want to ‘join-the-dots’ from its other bases in the region and challenge the incumbent carriers.
József Váradi, (CEO) of Wizz Air (WZZ), said: “The opening of the Budapest - Moscow route is a landmark event for (WZZ)’s “Go East” expansion as it will make (WZZ)’s debut in Russia. It also enhances (WZZ)’s position as the “home town airline” for Hungarians by offering more choices and more low fares to travelers. We remain highly committed to continue to develop our route network, to create new employment and engage with new business activities in Hungary as it would be expected from Hungary’s largest airline. We are thankful to the Hungarian government for supporting us in the route designation process.”
Following the launch last year of services from Budapest, and more recently in June from Bucharest, Wizz Air (WZZ) has now announced its intentions to fly from Cluj Napoca in Romania (twice-weekly), Vilnius in Lithuania (twice-weekly), as well as Katowice (thrice-weekly) in Poland to Tel Aviv from this winter season. However, its ambitions to service the Polish market to Israel are not going to end there, as (WZZ) has also received designation from the Polish (CAA) (or the (ULC) as they are known) to fly from Gdansk, Warsaw Chopin, and Warsaw Modlin to Tel Aviv, the Israeli capital. Previously, when (WZZ) announced it would be staying at Warsaw Chopin Airport rather than returning to Warsaw Modlin, (WZZ) was ‘hedging its bets’ on where exactly in Warsaw it will eventually serve in the future. Oddly, (WZZ)’s other two Polish bases in Wroclaw and Poznan have so far been left out of this surge of interest in new routes to Tel Aviv.
Currently, there are three airlines active in the Polish market to Tel Aviv, with nearly 93% of all seats and 15 weekly flights being offered from Warsaw. A typical start-up frequency of twice- or thrice-weekly from Warsaw to Tel Aviv would give Wizz Air (WZZ) a 12% or 18% market share in terms of weekly seats.
Following the recent announcement of Donetsk becoming Wizz Air (WZZ)’s second Ukrainian base, (WZZ) now has 17 operational bases. Five will now be connected to Tel Aviv, leaving 12 bases with the potential for an Israeli link. Six of the remaining bases already have direct flights to Tel Aviv, with eight serving airlines. The six remaining bases: Skopje in Macedonia, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw in Poland, Tirgu Mures and Timisoara in Romania currently have no direct flights to Tel Aviv and would allow Wizz Air (WZZ) to enter the market as a monopoly provider.
Wizz Air (WZZ) start Tel Aviv - Vilnius (2X-weekly), - Katowice (3X-weekly) in late October and – Cluj-Napoca (2X-weekly) in late November.
Wizz Air (WZZ)’s push further east also seems likely to deliver these Polish airports a service to Dubai World Central (DWC), (WZZ)’s chosen location for its embryonic plans in the (UAE). These routes would join the previously announced inaugural routes to (DWC) from Budapest (four weekly), Bucharest (thrice-weekly), Kiev Zhulyany (four weekly) and Sofia (thrice-weekly), all due to start this winter. Again, it is rumored that the Polish (ULC) has given designation to the (UAE) to the Geneva-headquartered airline, although not a hard decision to make when the national carrier shows no interest in serving the route.
Perhaps (WZZ)’s plans for flights to (DWC) have been driven by the success of Emirates (EAD)’ daily flights into Warsaw. Having originally launched a daily A330 service on 6 February this year, (EAD) had already carried 58,000 by the end of June, giving the route around an 85% LF load factor. On long-haul services, this load factor tends to be a route profitability sweet-spot, but clearly (EAD) thinks there is more growth out there, as it is upgrading the service to a daily 364-seat, 777-300 from 1 January 2014 (a 54% increase in seats from the existing 237-seat A330). Fellow Middle East Big 3 (MEB3) member Qatar Airways (QTA) also operates a daily A320 service to Warsaw from its Doha hub.
While any of (WZZ)’s base airports would be foolish to turn down any route development from an airline as capable as (WZZ) in terms of delivering passenger growth, its arrival on a service to (DWC) would surely sour the prospects of these airports in securing an equally prestigious (but in a different way) Dubai route from Emirates (EAD). anna.aero has already looked at which of those base airports already has a service (or not) to Dubai. That said, to quote an often-used statement by airline network development personnel in reaction to the arrival of competition in a market: “We welcome competition.” Time will tell whether they really mean it.
August 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) will add a second A320 at its Macedonian base at Skopje from April 2014, enabling the Hungary-based carrier to open three new routes and step up services on an existing six.
(WZZ) said the move is proof that low-cost carriers (LCC)s stimulate tourism and job creation in the markets they serve. From April 2014, (WZZ) will begin 2X-weekly services from Skopje to Brussels Charleroi (April 16), Frankfurt Hahn (April 19), and Paris Beauvais (April 18).
The second A320 will also allow frequency increases to the following destinations: weekly flights on the existing services to Basel Mulhouse (3X- to 5X-weekly), Dortmund (2X- to 3X-weekly), Eindhoven (2X- to 3X-weekly), Gothenburg (2X- to 4X-weekly), Malmo (5X- to 7X-weekly), and Munich Memmingen (2X- to 3X-weekly).
Wizz Air (WZZ) added Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) from Budapest (BUD) as the latest piece in its eastbound network expansion, following recently announced routes from the Hungarian capital to the likes of Tel Aviv (Israel), Kiev Zhulyany (Ukraine), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Dubai World Central (UAE). (WZZ) currently offers a four times weekly service, with plans to increase this to daily, post-March 2014. The 1,082 km route, which commenced on August 2nd, will be operated using an A320.
September 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) will base an 8th airplane at its Budapest Airport main operating base in 2014. The new A320 will be based at the airport from March 2014 and will provide capacity increases on routes from Budapest to London, Eindhoven, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Madrid, Catania, Malta, and Bari.
(WZZ)’s seat capacity from the Hungarian capital is expected to increase from 2.4 million in 2013 to 2.9 million in 2014, although (WZZ) (CEO), József Váradi stressed that, while his airline had a strong presence at Budapest, it would continue to explore other possibilities. (WZZ) began operating from the Hungarian capital in 2004.
(WZZ) will also be basing a fourth airplane, an A320, at Sofia Airport in Bulgaria from next May. The new airplane will increase (WZZ)’s seat capacity at Sofia by +30% to just over >1.1 million seats. It will also support the operation of flights to Dubai, which are scheduled to start with 3X-weekly service Oct. 29, as well as a new route to Malmo in Sweden, which will be operated twice-weekly from May 16, 2014.
October 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ) commenced four new routes recently. Amongst the large number of network additions connecting seven cities across six countries, is a 1,540 km route between its Hungarian base and headquarters location in Budapest (BUD) and Moscow Vnukovo (VKO). The route is being launched with A320-200s, to one of three major airports serving the Russian capital, with four weekly rotations, soon increasing to five from October 3. Wizz Air (WZZ) faces indirect competition from Aeroflot (ARO), which serves the city pair with 14x weekly frequencies, but serves Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. The other recent launched routes included September 17: Kosice to London Luton 2x weekly; September 24th: Venice Treviso to Chisnau 2x weekly, and Rome Ciampino to Chisinau 2x weekly.
Wizz Air (WZZ) launched operations from Warsaw (WAW) to Kharkiv (HRK) on October 1st. The twice-weekly A320 service (Tuesdays and Saturdays) has no direct competition on the 1,100 km sector. The route is (WZZ)’s first from Warsaw into the Ukraine.
Wizz Air (WZZ) is set to continue its march ever eastwards in search of new markets ripe for its Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) product, with India next on its agenda, to be served from Dubai World Central Al Maktoum International Airport, which it begins serving later this month from Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia and Kiev Zhulyany. “This is work in progress and we will announce in due course should there be any development,” stated Daniel de Carvalho, (WZZ)’s Corporate Communications Director. Presumably this is airline-speak for: ‘We’re doing the paperwork and dealing with the bureaucrats.’
Next month, Dubai Al Maktoum will have its (WZZ) flights, along with twice-weekly services to Kuwait City with Jazeera Airways (JZI) and a weekly Primera Air service (PRI) from Malmö (Gulf Air (GUL) will commence a daily Bahrain service in December), but nothing to Dubai’s biggest country market of India, which commands 11% of weekly seats or nearly 100,000 seats per week. This high level of capacity makes India the logical choice for Wizz Air (WZZ) to fly to from Dubai Al Maktoum, driven by the demand from the significant local Indian immigrant population.
SEE ATTACHED - - "WZZ-2013-10 - TOP 12 INDIAN ROUTES FROM DUBAI."
Currently, 17 different Indian destinations are being served from Dubai, with Mumbai and Delhi being the most likely route opportunities to be taken-up by (WZZ) given the sheer scale of the markets. Should (WZZ) launch daily A320 flights to Mumbai, it would have around 7% of weekly flight and less than <6% of weekly seats. Given Delhi’s smaller market size, a daily operation on this route pair would give (WZZ) a larger share, at 9% and 7% respectively.
While connections to Dubai’s #2 to #4 country markets make less sense in terms of passenger flows (Saudi Arabia, UK and Qatar) for (WZZ), the fifth largest country market, Pakistan, would probably be the next point to add to its potential Dubai Al Maktoum network. With more than three times the number of seats than markets #2 (Islamabad) and #3 (Lahore), links to Karachi would appear to be the obvious choice in Pakistan for (WZZ).
For those intrepid air fare bargain hunter passengers looking for an Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) route to India, perhaps routing London Luton – Budapest – Dubai Al Maktoum – Mumbai, or in the future to Pakistan, flying Malmö – Sofia – Dubai Al Maktoum – Karachi, this move by (WZZ) will be great news. Especially when each sector costs the same as the price of a cup of coffee: — but remember to pick up your bags at the end of each flight to check them in again.
On October 27th, (WZZ) became the world’s first carrier to offer scheduled services to the new Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC) airport, as it inaugurated services from Budapest (BUD). On the following day, it also launched flights from Kiev Zhulyany to the new airport. Also on October 27, (WZZ) inaugurated its fourth route to Tel Aviv (TLV), which it now serves with twice-weekly flights from Vilnius (VNO) in Lithuania in addition to daily flights from Budapest, and thrice-weekly from Bucharest and Katowice.
Wizz Air (WZZ) has converted 26 of its Airbus A320 orders to the larger A321, which will be its first of the larger variant.
November 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ), which recently became the first carrier to offer passenger services to the new Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC) airport, linked two further European capitals with the Middle Eastern facility on October 29th. Furthermore, (WZZ) added services on the 2,400 km route from Katowice (KTW) to Tel Aviv (TLV), as well as thrice-weekly flights on its second route from Craiova (CRA) in Romania – to London Luton. On November 2nd, (WZZ) also launched weekly flights from Budapest (BUD) to Malta (MLA), a route operated by Air Malta (MLT) in the past.
Wizz Air (WZZ) has signed a sale and leaseback agreement with Chinese (CDB) Leasing Company to finance six A320s. Deliveries are planned in 2014 and 2015. The deal is worth $549 million at current list prices.
(CEO), Jozsef Varadi said the addition of the new airplanes will reinforce the carrier’s market position in Europe, and accommodate its route and base network expansion. (WZZ) also announced it will open its 19th base in Craiova (Romania) from July 23, 2014 with one A320.
The new airplanes will be used on six routes from Craiova and increase capacity in the first 12 months to more than >260,000 seats. (WZZ) will operate more weekly flights on existing services from Craiova to Milan Bergamo and London Luton, as well as launch new routes to Barcelona, Bologna, Dortmund and Rome Ciampino.
(WZZ) operates a fleet of 45 A320s on >280 routes from 18 bases, connecting >90 destinations across 35 countries. (WZZ) transported >12 million passengers in 2012.
December 2013: Wizz Air (WZZ), which in the previous week commenced a 2x-weekly service to Tel Aviv (TLV), launched its 7th route to (TLV) on November 27th, this latest service being inaugurated from Cluj Napoca (CLJ) in Romania. The 1897 km route will be operated 2x-weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) utilizing (WZZ)’s 180-seat A320s. (WZZ) will not face any competition on the new city pair. The Tel Aviv route opened by (WZZ), the main air operator at Cluj International Airport, is of high significance, because there is a numerous 2nd-generation Romanian population living in Israel, for whom the opening of this new air link represents a wonderful opportunity to connect with the past. Visiting their place of birth or reconnecting with people or relatives from their past reminds us of why aviation is such a great thing.”
January 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin 3x-weekly Prague to Tel Aviv A320 service on March 31. It will also begin 2x-weekly Skopje to Cologne A320 service on April 4. Wizz Air (WZZ) announced new 2x-weekly Budapest to Donetsk service beginning April 30. It will also begin weekly, Budapest to Alicante service June 14. Wizz Air (WZZ) increases Budapest to Brussels Charleroi from 11x- to 14x-weekly in summer service and increases Budapest to Stockholm Skavsta from 3x- to 5x-weekly.
February 2014: European budget carriers Ryanair (RYR) and Wizz Air (WZZ) have become the latest airlines to relax restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices (PED) on takeoff and landing.
Wizz Air (WZZ) rolled out its new (PED) policy on January 28, followed by (RYR) on February 6th. Both carriers are allowing device use throughout all phases of flight, as long as they are set to “flight mode.”
The (FAA) announced plans to relax restrictions on (PED) use at the end of October and Delta Air Lines (DAL) was the 1st USA carrier to activate gate-to-gate (PED) use. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) adopted a similar approach in early December.
On December 19, British Airways (BAB) became the 1st European carrier to adopt the changes.
March 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ) is to open a new base in the Latvian capital Riga on June 19. (WZZ) will initially position a single Airbus A320 at Riga and use the capacity provided by the 180Y-seat airplanes to start operating four new routes: – to Barcelona; Doncaster and Sheffield in northern England; Dortmund and Paris Beauvais. (WZZ) will also increase frequencies on its existing Riga services to London Luton and Oslo Torp.
With the new destinations Wizz Air (WZZ) will offer 25x-weekly on 8 routes from Riga, representing an estimated +85% growth in capacity, year on year, up to July 2014. (WZZ) carried 200,000 passengers from Riga in 2013.
At a press conference in Riga, (WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi commented that the new Riga base would bring a significant capital investment and create jobs with both (WZZ) and its local business partners.
April 2014: Wizz Air ((IATA) Code: W6, based at Budapest) (WZZ) will slash its Belgrade operations by half after the airport's operator, Aerodrom “Beograd to Nikola Tesla” P E, hiked service charges by +40%. Among the routes affected are Oslo Torp and Brussels Charleroi whose services will be axed from May 6 onwards.
Executive VP John Stephenson, lamented the move stating that the fee increase would benefit carriers like Air Serbia (JAT) at the expense of the Serbian travelling public as well as tourists. "As 1 of the most expensive airports in Europe, it should incentivize low cost air travel instead of unfairly protecting high fare wannabe monopolist Etihad Airways (EHD)/Air Serbia (JAT). Wizz Air (WZZ) was willing to grow traffic and low fare services in Serbia, but regrettably we now must take 1 of the 2 Belgrade-based Airbus A320s to Latvia, where low cost flights are welcomed and where a vision for passenger growth exists. The loss of half of our Belgrade capacity is reversible if Belgrade Airport reduces costs and competes with other, cheaper airports in the region,” he said.
(WZZ) also warned that remaining services to Basle/Mulhouse/Freiburg, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Gothenburg City, Larnaca, London Luton, Malmö, Memmingen, Paris Beauvais, and Stockholm Skavsta will also see their frequencies reduced.
Wizz Air (WZZ) designated the Serbian capital a base in 2010.
May 2014: News Item A-1: On May 1st, Wizz Air (WZZ)’s Captains David Morgan and Andras Arday made history with their outstanding performance, by flying a (WZZ) A320 at the Budapest Air Show.
SEE PHOTOS OF WIZZ AIR (WZZ) A320 FLYING AT BUDAPEST AIR SHOW - - "WZZ-2014-05-A320 AT BUDAPEST AIR SHOW-A/B" and also video - -
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ), which just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its 1st flight, added 2 more routes from its Bulgarian base in Sofia (SOF). On May 14th, it began 3x-weekly flights on the 1,560 km route to Tel Aviv (TLV) in Israel, followed on May 16th by 2x-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) flights on the 1,600 km route to Malmö (MMX) in Sweden. Competition is only provided on the Tel Aviv route which is already served by El Al (ELA) (3x-weekly) and Bulgaria Air (LZB) (2x-weekly). (WZZ)’s Sofia base opened in July 2008, and this summer there will be 4 A320s based at the airport operating 65x-weekly departures to a total of 17 destinations. This summer (WZZ) will serve Malmö from 9 of its airports in Central and Eastern Europe, while Tel Aviv will be served from 8 airports. All of the Tel Aviv routes have been started in the last 2 years.
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) has announced plans to float shares on the London Stock Exchange in an initial public offering (IPO) with the aim to raise $274 million.
News Item A-4: On May 19th 2004, (WZZ) launched its 1st ever flights from Katowice Airport in Poland to Berlin Schönefeld, London Luton, Milan Bergamo, and Rome Ciampino. Some things have remained unchanged in the subsequent 10 years; including (WZZ)’s choice of 180-seat A320s to operate all flights, the distinctive pink and purple branding, and airplane paint scheme, and Jozsef Váradi as (CEO). (WZZ)’s fleet now comprises 48 A320s with a further 86 A320s on order, as well as 26 larger A321s.
Since (WZZ)’s launch in the summer of 2004, schedule data shows that it has grown each year, though growth rates have declined as would be expected as the airline gets larger. However, (WZZ)’s year-on-year capacity growth for this August (of almost 19%), is its fastest rate of growth since 2010. According to (WZZ)’s own Public Relations (PR), it has carried 69 million passengers in its 1st decade.
Wizz Air (WZZ) and its sister airline Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU), now operate from 17 bases across Central and Eastern Europe. These are split across 9 countries. At the end of 2013, additional bases were announced for 2014 in Lviv (Ukraine), Craiova (Romania), and Riga (Latvia). Due to the recent situation in Ukraine, the Lviv base appears to have been postponed, though the airline continues to operate some flights to the airport. The Donetsk base (which opened last October) has now been reduced to a single, bookable route to Kutaisi in Georgia. The Riga base (1 airplane, 4 new routes) is scheduled to open in June, while the Craiova base (1 airplane, 4 new routes) will commence operations in July.
COUNTRY BASE (LAUNCH DATE)
Bulgaria Sofia (July 12, 2008)
Czech Republic Prague (February 19, 2009)
Hungary Budapest (June 24, 2004)
Lithuania Vilnius (April 16, 2011)
Macedonia Skopje (October 28, 2012)
Poland Katowice (May 19, 2004), Warsaw (August 10, 2004), Gdansk (August 10, 2004), Poznan (January 29, 2008), Wroclaw (March 12, 2010)
Romania Bucharest (January 15, 2007), Cluj-Napoca (October 31, 2007), Timisoara (February 16, 2009), Targu Mures (May 5, 2011)
Serbia Belgrade (April 1, 2011)
Ukraine Kiev (July 11, 2008), Donetsk (October 1, 2013).
At some of these cities, such as Bucharest, Kiev, and Warsaw, (WZZ) has moved between airports. In Bucharest, (WZZ) originally served Baneasa Airport before it was closed to commercial services, while in Kiev, the airline moved from Boryspil to Zhulyany. In Warsaw, (WZZ) moved from Warsaw Chopin to Warsaw Modlin Airport, before moving back to Warsaw Chopin.
London Luton Airport remains (WZZ)’s busiest airport in terms of weekly departures, with 230 spread across 27 destinations, an increase of >30% on last summer. Other non-base airports, that rank among (WZZ)’s top 16 airports, are Barcelona (Spain), Dortmund (Germany), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Milan Bergamo (Italy), and Paris Beauvais (France), highlighting the pan-European nature of (WZZ)’s network.
A total of 95 airports will welcome Wizz Air (WZZ) flights this summer, up from 90 last summer. Since last summer, Antalya in Turkey has been dropped from (WZZ)’s network, but Basel (Switzerland), Chisinau (Moldova), Dubai Al Maktoum (UAE), Kosice (Slovakia), Moscow Vnukovo (Russia), and Sibiu (Romania) have been added.
(WZZ)’s route network will this summer comprise 296 routes, up from 269 in August 2013. The net gain of +27 routes comprises 49 new routes and 22 dropped routes. Of the dropped routes, 20 involve operations from designated bases. The 2 remaining dropped routes are between Kharkiv (Ukraine) and Kutaisi (Georgia), and between Debrecan (Hungary) and Dortmund (DTM).
Since the summer of 2009, (WZZ)’s average weekly frequency, across its route network in summer, has consistently been below 4x-weekly. This summer is no exception. However, like Ryanair (RYR), (WZZ)’s average weekly frequency has risen slightly from 3.58 in August 2013, to 3.85 in August 2014. Only 42 of (WZZ)’s 296 routes operate at least daily, and just 8 operate with at least 2x-daily flights. (WZZ)’s busiest routes are Luton to Budapest (26x-weekly), Luton to Bucharest (21x-weekly) and Luton to Warsaw (20x-weekly).
(WZZ)’s (CEO) Jozsef Váradi, said: “I am very proud to reach such an important milestone. We have reached this important day following 10 years of hard work by an outstanding team of professionals. Our last 10 years have seen rapid growth, constant innovation, giving our customers the freedom to travel and pursue new experiences and opportunities. As (WZZ), and its dedicated staff, enters our next decade, we will continue to challenge competitors and offer low fares and great customer service. Today, I would like to thank all of our customers for their loyalty and for being part of Wizz Air (WZZ)’s incredible journey.”
June 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ) decided to stop its planned initial public offering (IPO) at the last minute due to the “current market volatility in the airline sector.” (WZZ) said: “Despite the +ve response to our business story, and (WZZ)’s growth opportunities and prospects within the institutional investment community, (WZZ) now announces that (WZZ) has decided not to proceed with an (IPO) at this stage, due to the current market volatility in the airline sector.”
European airline shares have been fluctuating significantly over the past few weeks. Lufthansa (DLH)’s stock has dropped by >-15% following a profit warning last week. Aer Lingus (ARL) also revised its earnings estimate downward illustrating renewed pressure on margins in the industry.
Wizz Air (WZZ) had planned to raise a total of $274 million in an (IPO) at the London Stock Exchange, primarily to fund future growth. (WZZ) currently has a fleet of 52 Airbus A321s, but it plans to raise the number of airplanes to 82 over the next 3 years. (WZZ) has another 38 A320s and 26 A321s on firm order, but part of the order will be used to replace some of the current airplanes.
(WZZ) said the decision to call off the (IPO) will have no influence on its expansion, which it estimates to be at around a growth of +15% per year for the foreseeable future. (WZZ) is the only one of the pan-European low-cost carriers (LCCs) that focuses on connecting Central and Eastern Europe with Western Europe. (WZZ) is also the smallest carrier in the sector that otherwise includes Ryanair (RYR), easyJet (EZY), Vueling (VUZ), and Norwegian (NWG).
Wizz Air (WZZ), which celebrated its 10th anniversary last month, added 8 new European links to its offering, half of which were launched from its Bucharest (OTP) base. With the longest sector being the 2,715 km service from Bucharest (OTP) to Malaga (AGP) launched on June 15th, and the shortest being inaugurated on June 13th from Sofia (SOF) to Malta (MLA) at 1,078 km, (WZZ) will face competition on 2 of the newly launched operations from Blue Air (BLD) and Air Malta (MLT).
Wizz Air (WZZ), which in the previous week expanded its European offering with 8 new routes, opened its 17th base in Riga (RIX), with 3 new routes launched from the Latvian capital to Barcelona (BCN), Doncaster Sheffield (DSA) and Paris Beauvais (BVA). Moreover, on August 31st, (WZZ) will launch its 4th route from Riga with 2x-weekly operations to Dortmund. Besides this, (WZZ) inaugurated services from Gdansk (GDN), Poznan (POZ) and Warsaw Chopin (WAW) in Poland, Tuzla (TZL) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from Vilnius (VNO) in Lithuania. Overall, all routes are between 800 km and 2,400 km in length, and will be served with an average weekly frequency of 2.1. Out of the 10 new services, (WZZ) will face competition only on the 1,603 km sector to the Yorkshire gateway, from airBaltic (BAU)’s 8 weekly operations. It is also increasing frequencies on existing services to London Luton and Oslo Torp, offering 8 routes to 6 different countries.
(WZZ) was 1 of the 1st Eastern European Airlines to take delivery of an A320 with Sharklet fuel-saving wing tips, which it did in April.
(WZZ) operates a fleet of 52 Airbus A320 airplanes on 300 routes from 18 bases, connecting 96 destinations across 35 countries. It transported >13.9 million passengers in the financial year ended March 31, 2014.
A320-232 (6115, HA-LYD; 6131, HA-LYE), ex-(F-WWBC & F-WWIC) deliveries and A320-232 (5539, HA-LYG), ex-(UR-WUC) returned from Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU).
July 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ) begins 2x-weekly, Katowice to Glasgow on October 26; 3x-weekly, Szczecin to London Luton on October 27; 2x-weekly, Warsaw to Bergin on October 27; 2x-weekly, Gdansk to Groningen on October 28; 2x-weekly, Katowice to Maastricht on October 28; and 2x-weekly, Poznan to Glasgow on October 28. All will be flown with Airbus A320s.
(WZZ) opened its 5th Romanian base (+18 overall) in Craiova. (WZZ) offers 4 Airbus A320 services: Barcelona, Bologna, Dortmund, and Rome Ciampino. (WZZ) is also operating bases in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mures, and Timisoara within the Romanian market. Besides this, (WZZ) commenced its 16th route from Cluj-Napoca (CLJ), with the addition of 2x-weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays) on the 1,225 km sector to Basel (BSL). There is no competition on any of the new airport pairs.
August 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ) begins 3x-weekly, Poprad to London Luton service on October 28. (WZZ) will launch 2x-weekly, Riga to Liverpool service on April 24, 2015. It will also add a 3rd weekly service to Warsaw on March 29, and service to Gdansk will be operated 3x-weekly, year-round.
Wizz Air (which recently added the 5th airplane and launched 8 new routes in Warsaw) will deploy 2 additional airplanes in Katowice and Poznan. This brings its fleet in Poland to 18 Airbus A320s, representing a +25% year-over-year capacity growth in 2015.
The 5th Katowice and 2nd Poznan-based airplane will be delivered March 29, 2015 and May 21, 2015, respectively.
Wizz Air (WZZ) also announced 5 new services starting in early 2015: Gdansk to Molde (Norway), Gdansk to Frankfurt Hahn, Katowice to Belfast, Poznan to Malmo, and Lublin to Stockholm Skavsta.
With these new services, (WZZ) now offers 103 routes to 47 destinations from 7 Polish airports. (WZZ) has also increased frequencies on some of the most popular routes across its Polish network. “This is another major step for (WZZ) in Poland. In just 3 weeks, we have announced 3 new based airplanes, 13 new routes and +1.4 million additional seats in 2015. Our growth will generate >1,400 jobs across Poland and boost tourism across the country,” (CEO) Jozsef Varadi said.
Wizz Air (WZZ) said it is the largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in Central and Eastern Europe. (WZZ) operates a fleet of 53 Airbus A320s and offers >300 routes from 18 bases, connecting 102 destinations across 36 countries.
(WZZ) transported >13.9 million passengers in the financial year ending March 31, 2014.
September 2014: Wizz Air (WZZ), which opened its 17th base at the gateway to Latvia’s capital with 3 routes in June, continued to expand its presence at Riga (RIX) with the addition of a new route to Dortmund (DTM) on August 31st. (WZZ)’s 8th route from the airport will be served 2x-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), utilizing its 180Y-seat A320s. The 1,238 km sector to the German destination will face no competition from other operators.
Wizz Air (WZZ) is to expand capacity in Romania by +29% in 2015. (WZZ) will introduce one new 180Y-seat Airbus A320 at Bucharest Otopeni Airport, bringing its Romania-based fleet to 17 Airbus A320s. This represents a +29% year-over-year capacity growth in 2015.
In August, (WZZ) announced 13 new routes and more based airplanes at Cluj-Napoca and Timisoara airports.
(WZZ) expects its 9th Bucharest-based aircraft to be delivered at the end of July 2015 and plans to launch routes to Pescara (Italy) and Stockholm Skavsta (Sweden) on July 27, as well as a seasonal route to Heraklion (Greece) from June 20.
(WZZ) also announced operations from Iasi Airport, its eighth Romanian airport. New services from Iasi to Treviso will begin December 20, 2014, Iasi to Milan Bergamo (from March 31) and Iasi to London Luton service will start June 14, 2015. “In just 2 months, we have announced 3 new based airplanes, an additional airport, +20 new routes and 1.35 million additional seats in 2015. Our growth will support >1,000 new jobs across Romania and boost tourism across the country,” Executive VP John Stephenson said.
In August, (WZZ) announced a +25% capacity expansion in Poland.
(WZZ) transported >13.9 million passengers in the financial year ended March 31, 2014. (WZZ) operates 54 Airbus A320s.
Wizz Air (WZZ) is considering switching all of its outstanding Airbus A320s to the larger A321.
October 2014: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ), which in the previous week added its 3rd route to Glasgow, continued to expand its European network with the addition of 3 new links from its Eastern European bases, all of which are served 2x-weekly using its 180-seat A320s. On September 30th, (WZZ) inaugurated operations (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on the 1,456 km sector from Bucharest (OTP) to Turin (TRN). In addition on the same day, (WZZ) commenced (Tuesdays and Saturdays) its 4th route to Kutaisi (KUT), this time from Budapest (BUD). Besides this, on October 1st, (WZZ) added (Wednesdays and Sundays) the 983 km sector from Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) to Nuremberg (NUE). (WZZ) will face no competition on any of the 3 new additions. (WZZ) is already serving Kutaisi from Katowice, Vilnius and Warsaw Chopin. Noteworthy is the fact that both Nuremberg and Turin are new destinations for the pan-European carrier.
Wizz Air (WZZ), which last month took delivery of a new A320, continued to expand its European network with 5 new additions. (WZZ) increased its Bucharest (OTP) offering as it added 2x-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) to Basel (BSL) and Nuremberg (NUE). In addition, (WZZ) also commenced its 2nd route from Sibiu (SBZ), after adding London Luton on June 14th. Noteworthy, (WZZ) launched its 3rd route from Szczecin (SZZ), this time to London Luton (LTN) with 3x-weekly services; while it is also serving Stavanger (4x-weekly) and Oslo Torp (5x-weekly) from the capital city of the West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. (WZZ) Air will face no competition on any of the new routes.
Bucharest (OTP) to Basel (BSL) 2x-; to Nuremberg 2x-.
Sibiu (SBZ) to Dortmund (DTM) 2x-.
Poprad (TAT) to London Luton (LTN) 4x-.
Szczecin (SZZ) to (LTN) 3x-.
News Item A-2: (WZZ) has named Lilla Vajda as Sales Manager for charters & Allotments. She will share responsibility for managing relations with the travel and tourism sector.
November 2014: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) adds a new base in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (WZZ) has detailed plans to open its 19th base at Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it will open 4 new routes.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) has outlined its growth plans; an Initial Public Offering (IPO) is on hold.
Rapidly expanding Eastern European budget carrier, (WZZ) is aiming to grow to 30 million passengers a year and a 100-airplane fleet by 2019, although its plans to float on the stock exchange remain on hold.
News Item A-3: According to Wizz Air (WZZ) (CEO): No plans to chase long-haul or business traffic.
Central and Eastern Europe-based, (WZZ) (CEO) Jozsef Varadi is sticking firmly with his ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), short-haul strategy and has no intention of chasing business (C) travelers, or branching out into long-haul, low-cost carrier (LCC) operations.
News Item A-4: Wizz Air (WZZ) continued to grow its European network with 8 new links, all of which are served 2x-weekly by its 180Y-seat A320s. With the longest route being the 1,485 km service from Chisinau (KIV) to Milan/Bergamo (BGY) added on November 3rd, and the shortest being inaugurated on November 1st from Timisoara (TSR) to Bari (BRI), (WZZ) will face no competition on any of the 8 new additions. Noteworthy is the fact that the service to Bergamo, is (WZZ)’s 3rd route from Chisinau, as it already flies 3x-weekly to Rome Ciampino and Venice Treviso.
All the following are on A320 2x weekly:
Chisnau (KIV) to Milan/Bergamo (BGY).
Gdansk (GDN) to Groningen (GRQ).
Katowice (KTW) to Maastricht Aachen (MST).
Poznan (POZ) to Glasgow (GLA).
Timisoara (TSR) to Bari (BRI; to Brussels Charleroi (CRL); to Frankfurt Hahn (HHN); and to Memmingen (FMM).
February 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) is hoping to raise €150 million/$170.7 million from a fresh initial public offering (IPO) attempt after aborting plans to float on the London Stock Exchange last June.
(WZZ) 1st outlined plans to list Last May, but ditched them at the last minute because of weak market conditions. At the time, it expected to raise €200 million from the flotation. Last November, Wizz Air (WZZ) (CEO) Jozsef Varadi said he would revisit the market when it was in “good shape,” but he stressed (WZZ) was “not desperate for an (IPO).”
However, the timing now seems to be right, with the release of (WZZ)’s latest prospectus on February 4. “The global offer will comprise an offer of new ordinary shares by the company to raise gross proceeds of approximately €150 million, and the sale of ordinary shares by existing investors,” the prospectus stated. Funds from the listing will be used to strengthen (WZZ)’s balance sheet, as well as fund its network and fleet growth.
The core of (WZZ)’s model rests in connecting Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) with Western Europe, where it claims to be the largest carrier with 37.7% market share. It carried >8.8 million passengers in the half-year ended September 30, across its network of 18 bases and 350 routes, spanning 37 countries. “We operate in many markets where low-cost airline penetration is low with significant potential for growth,” Varadi said. He added that deregulation in the region, above average (GDP) growth, a growing middle class and supportive migration trends all bode well for (WZZ). “We believe that (WZZ) represents an attractive opportunity to invest in,” he said.
(WZZ) launched in 2004 and carried >13.9 million passengers during its financial year ended March 2014, at an 85.7% LF load factor. This generated €1 billion in revenues, up +19% over the prior year; its net profits nearly doubled to +€89 million.
In the 1st half of its 2014 to 2015 financial year, (WZZ)’s revenues rose +23.5% at €727.3 million and its net profit was up +44.5% at +€158.1 million. (WZZ)’s (EBITDAR) operating margin stood at 35% for the 6-month period.
(WZZ) positions itself as an ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC), alongside Ryanair (RYR). Its ex-fuel (CASK) was 2.25 euro cents in 2013 to 2014 and 2.21 euro cents in the 1st half of 2015.
Currently, (WZZ) operates a fleet of 54 Airbus A320s, but plans to grow to approximately 85 A320-family airplanes by the end of 2017. It has converted “a number” of A320 orders to the larger A321, which it will introduce into its fleet this year.
(WZZ) has recently started to increase the number of routes from (CEE) eastward to countries outside the European Union (EU) in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and the Middle East as part of its “Go East” initiative. It launched routes to Georgia, Israel and Macedonia in 2012; Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in 2013; and Egypt, planned for 2015.
Later, Wizz Air (WZZ) raised GBP257 million/USD397 million on its debut on the London Stock Exchange on February 25, roughly +GBP150 million/+USD231 million more than its original projections of GBP109 million/USD168 million.
(WZZ) floated 52,263,615 ordinary shares, including 23,360,008 offered shares. The latter comprised 9,578,820 newly issued shares and 13,781,188 shares offered by existing shareholders.
With roughly 71% of all available equity sold, USA investment firm Indigo Partners LLC, (WZZ)'s biggest investor, will continue to own around 12.9% of the business.
Though priced at GBP11.50/USD17.76 on opening, (WZZ)'s shares closed at GBP12.50/USD19.31 giving (WZZ) an overall valuation of GBP601 million/USD927 million.
Proceeds will be used to fund (WZZ)'s future growth plans, the acquisition of 57 Airbus A320-family airplanes and parts, and other general corporate expenses.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) increased its presence in the Romanian market with the launch of 2 new routes during the course of last week, both of which are served using its 180Y-seat A320s. On February 7th, the (WZZ) introduced 2x-weekly flights (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on the 1,294 km sector between Cluj to Napoca (CLJ) and to Cologne Bonn (CGN), a service that will see a frequency increase to 3x-weekly starting Spring 2015. This is (WZZ)’s 4th route to Cologne Bonn, as it already flies 2x-weekly from Gdansk, Katowice and Skopje. The following day, on February 8th, Wizz Air (WZZ) added its 2nd route from Iasi (IAS) with 2x-weekly services (Wednesdays and Sundays), this time to Milan/Bergamo (BGY), having begun 2x-weekly flights between Iasi and Venice Treviso on December 16th last year. (WZZ) will face no competition on any of the 2 additions.
March 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) increased its presence at Bari (BRI) with the addition of a new route from Cluj to Napoca (CLJ) on March 14th. The 835 km sector will be operated 2x-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays), utilizing (WZZ)’s 180Y-seat A320s. (WZZ), the (ULCC) is already flying to Bari from Budapest (4x-weekly), Bucharest (4x- weekly), Timisoara (2x-weekly) as well as Prague (2x-weekly). No other airline serves this airport pair.
Wizz Air (WZZ) begins new Airbus A320 Kosice to Doncaster Sheffield and to Milan Bergamo service on September 14.
April 2015: Aer Lingus (ARL), UK leisure carrier Jet2 (JT2) and Eastern European budget carrier, Wizz Air (WZZ) are facing legal action by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for breaching consumer law.
The UK regulator says it is stepping in “to safeguard the rights of millions of passengers” following a 6-month review of airline policies in relation to supporting passengers during disruption. This includes their approaches to paying flight delay compensation and the provision of information about passengers’ rights.
The (CAA) said this review “has already resulted in a number of airlines changing their policies,” but that, despite extensive discussions, some airlines have yet to make the required changes.
The (CAA) said (JT2) and (WZZ) “have failed to satisfy the (CAA) that they are consistently paying compensation for disruption caused by technical faults,” despite the Court of Appeal (Jet2 (JT2) v Huzar) clarifying that airlines must do so. (JT2) and (WZZ) are also imposing 2-year time limits for passengers to take compensation claims to court, despite the Court of Appeal ruling (Dawson v Thomson Airlines) that passengers should have up to 6 years to take a claim to court.
(WZZ)’s spokesman Daniel de Carvalho said, “The (UK) (CAA) is well aware that (WZZ) is reassessing these cases, and has confirmed to the (UK) (CAA) itself, some time ago, that it will apply the (UK) (CAA)’s own list of extraordinary circumstances in the relevant cases. This is not the only area where the (UK) (CAA)'s press release and reports are materially inaccurate. (WZZ) further confirms that claims can be raised within 2 years after the flight disruption, in line with its general conditions of carriage agreed to by customers at the time of booking, an approach which has been upheld by the English courts.”
In addition, the (CAA) said that (JT2) and (ARL) had failed to supply “satisfactory evidence” that they proactively provide passengers with information about their rights during disruption in line with the requirements set out in European Commission (EC) regulation (EC261).
The 3 airlines must implement the changes set out by the (CAA), or face the prospect of a court order.
(CAA) (CEO) Andrew Haines said: “Airlines are well aware of the support they must provide when there is disruption and passengers have every right to be disappointed that a small number of airlines are not complying with the Court of Appeal rulings, and continue to let people down in this way. Our job is not done until all airlines can demonstrate they are providing care, assistance and compensation as required by law. While we have no power to secure redress for individual consumers, we are determined to stand up for passengers, and are taking this action to safeguard their rights, making sure all airlines consistently provide their passengers with the support and compensation they are legally entitled to.”
The (CAA) said it also had concerns about the way Ryanair (RYR) was assessing some passenger claims, and was therefore reviewing (RYR)’s approach to assessing passenger claims for flights disrupted by technical faults.
The (CAA)’s review looked at the policies of the 15 airlines operating in the UK with the highest passenger figures, accounting for >80% of the UK’s aviation market. The other airlines included were British Airways (BAB), easyJet (EZY), Emirates (EAD), FlyBe (BEE), (KLM)-Air France (AFA), Lufthansa (DLH), Monarch (MON), Thomas Cook (JMA)/(GUE), Thomson Airways (ATZ)/(TFY), United Airlines (UAL), and Virgin Atlantic (VAA).
The review was carried out as part of a new enforcement approach that places the onus of compliance on airlines, with the (CAA) targeting enforcement resources, specifically at problem areas.
April 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) continued to add 5 more routes from Gdansk (GDN), Katowice (KTW) and Warsaw Chopin (WAW), all of which are operated by its 180Y-seat A320s. (WZZ) will face no competition on any of the 5 new additions.
Routes as follows:
Gdansk (GDN) to Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) 2x-, to Belfast International (BFS) 2x-;
Warsaw Chopin (WAW) to Alicante (ALC) 1x-, to Catania (CTA) 1x-, to Malta (MLA) 1x-.
Wizz Air (WZZ), which 1st introduced flights to Lublin Airport in Poland from London Luton and Oslo Torp in December 2012 (when Lublin Airport opened), on April 1st announced that the Polish airport would become its 21st base, and 6th in Poland. A single 180Y-seat A320 will be based there from mid-September, and 3 new routes (to Brussels Charleroi, Doncaster/Sheffield, and Glasgow) will be launched. A 6th route, to Stockholm Skavsta is scheduled to start on May 21st. Apart from (WZZ), Ryanair (RYR) operates a couple of routes to Lublin (from London Stansted and Dublin), while Lufthansa (DLH) began flights from its Frankfurt base last July, and will be operating 3x-weekly flights this summer with a mix of Airbus (EDS) and Embraer (EMB) E-jets.
Other airlines which have operated scheduled services from the airport in its brief history include Carpatair. In addition, there are also a growing number of seasonal charter services at the airport to destinations in Greece, Tunisia, and Turkey.
Located in the east of Poland, Lublin is Poland’s 9th largest city with an estimated urban population of around 350,000. It is closer to the Belarus and Ukraine borders than it is to Warsaw (which is about 170 km to the NW of Lublin). Until 2012, when the airport was built, it was Poland’s largest city without an airport. In both 2013 and 2014, Lublin Airport handled around 190,000 passengers. With these new Wizz Air (WZZ) services, the airport will be expecting at least 300,000 passengers in 2016.
News Item A-2: Central European budget carrier, Wizz Air (WZZ) is dissolving its Ukrainian subsidiary, Wizz Air Ukraine (WAU) and reducing its operations to the conflict-riven country.
Wizz Air Ukraine Airlines (WAU) (which has had 2 Airbus A320s stationed in Kiev) "will discontinue operations," said the Budapest-headquartered group. The mainline (WZZ) will instead establish a base in the Ukrainian capital and continue operations with one of the two airplanes.
The other is to be transferred to the airline's base in the Slovakian city of Kosice, where it is to be deployed on new routes to Bergamo in Italy and Doncaster in the UK from early June.
(WZZ) plans to operate 8 routes from Kiev, half of them to German cities: Cologne, Dortmund, Lubeck, and Memmingen. It will also serve Budapest, Katowice in Poland, Larnaca in Cyprus, and London Luton.
Existing routes from Kiev to Barcelona, Bergamo, Kutaisi, Moscow, Naples, Valencia, and Treviso will be discontinued. Operations in Lviv will be closed down altogether. From that city, in Ukraine's western region, (WZZ) has served Bergamo, Naples and, Treviso.
Last year, (WAU) already reduced its Ukrainian operations as a result of that country's political crisis. (WZZ) said it "stands ready for expansion as and when market conditions improve."
The closure of its Ukrainian division will not have a "material effect" on the group's trading this year, (WZZ) said. Its financial year ends on March 31st. Revenue and profit will be in line with expectations, said (WZZ).
Wizz Air (WZZ) transported 16.5 million passengers over 12 months through March 31, up +17% year-on-year; load factor rose +1 point to 86.7% LF during that period.
(WZZ) will open its 21st base in Lublin (Poland) with 1 new A320 from September 14.
News Item A-3: (CDB) Leasing secured financing from (KfW IPEX)-Bank, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen and The Korea Development Bank for the refinancing of 4 Airbus A320 airplanes. The A320s are subject to long-term leases with the Hungarian carrier Wizz Air Hungary (WZZ).
May 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) reported a net profit of +€183 million/+$199 million for the financial year ended March 31, 2015, more than double the +€88 million profit reported for the previous financial year.
(WZZ) attributes this strong performance to capacity expansion, rigorous cost control and a determination to allocate capacity to the most profitable parts of its network.
(WZZ) (CEO) Josef Varadi said: “The last 12 months have been an exciting period for Wizz Air (WZZ). Having successfully listed on the London Stock Exchange, we have continued to grow our network and increase our passenger numbers throughout the period, while maintaining an industry leading, ultra-low cost base.”
Revenue was up +21% to €1.23 billion, while costs were also up, to €1.1 billion from €902 million in the previous financial year.
Passenger numbers increased +18% year-on-year to 16.5 million, (ASK)s were up +20% to 29.3 billion and (RPK)s were up +21.5% to 25.5 billion. Load factor increased +1.2% points to 86.7% and yield was largely stable.
Looking forward, the airline said it expects to see a “significant rise” in group post tax profit in the 2016 financial year, to between €165 million and €175 million.
Trading in the current financial year has so far been “robust” as (WZZ) plans to increase capacity by around +17%, broadly split +18% in the 1st half and +16% in the 2nd half of the year. It anticipates a further “modest rise” in load factor as passenger numbers are expected to reach 19.4 million passengers for the year.
(WZZ) said “management continues to believe that there will be no earnings benefit from the decline in fuel prices as lower fuel prices feed through to lower air fares.” However, it expects a slight decline in yield in the 1st half of the current financial year, and “remains cautious” about the 2nd half revenue performance.
“Our ultra-low-cost model gives us a clear cost advantage versus most of our rivals, including many other low cost carriers (LCC)s, and as a result, we are able to offer our passengers low fares and sustain a relatively high growth rate compared to other carriers. Last year alone, we carried +2.6 million more passengers than in the previous year and we look forward to driving traffic growth further in the year ahead,” Varadi said.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) plans to locate its 22nd base in Debrecen, Hungary, opening with a single Airbus A320 and 3 new routes on December 16.
Services from Debrecen to Paris Beauvais will launch December 16 and will be joined by Brussels Charleroi and Malmo on December 18. All 3 links will operate 2x-weekly.
(WZZ) will also add an extra frequency on its existing Debrecen to Eindhoven route, taking it to 3x-weekly, and London Luton will go from 7x-weekly to 10x-weekly. These changes take effect from December 17.
“The new airplanes will increase the number of routes served from Debrecen to 6 and increase annual seat capacity from the airport by +136% to 145,000 seats per year,” Wizz Air said.
Wizz Air, which operates a fleet of 59 Airbus A320s, will offer 47 Hungarian routes from 2 Hungarian airports to 22 countries. Its total network spans 380 routes from 22 bases.
“Our Debrecen operating base will make E Hungary more accessible, further boost tourism and foster economic development in the region. We will create a number of local jobs with Wizz Air and our business partners, while doubling our capacity from Debrecen Airport,” Wizz Air (CEO) József Váradi said.
Newly listed Wizz Air (WZZ) has just celebrated its 11th anniversary, which it used to unveil its new airplane livery and branding.
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) expanded its Budapest (BUD) offering with the start of 2 new airport pairs, to Maastricht Aachen (MST) on May 15 and Hurghada (HRG) on May 16, both being operated by its 180Y-seat A320s. While the 1,051 km sector to the regional airport located in Beek, Netherlands will be served 2x-weekly (Mondays and Fridays), the 2,583 km route to the city in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt will be flown weekly, on Saturdays. (WZZ), the Hungarian Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) will face competition only on the sector to Egypt from Travel Service Hungary’s 3x-weekly departures. This summer Wizz Air (WZZ)’s network from Budapest will encompass almost 40 routes.
News Item A-4: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch 2 additional routes from Vilnius, Lithuania, after Air Lituanica (LUA) ceased operations, offering rescue fares to passengers.
New services from Vilnius include Stockholm and Billund from September 14, operating 3x- and 2x-weekly frequencies, respectively.
(WZZ) now offers service on 24 routes to 14 countries from Lithuania.
Lithuanian carrier, Air Lituanica (LUA) ceased flying May 22nd. The small airline, which operated an Embraer E175, an ERJ-145 and an ATR 42, said management had decided to stop operations.
Latvia-based airBaltic (BAU) said it would also launch a series of new services from Vilnius from early September to 6 European destinations served by the defunct Lithuanian carrier.
In addition, Estonian Air (ENA) announced it would nearly double frequencies on its Tallinn to Vilnius route from 6x- to 11x-weekly services immediately.
News Item A-5: Wizz Air (WZZ) announced its 1st lease agreement with Air Lease Corporation (ALE) for 1 Airbus A320 to be delivered in July. This is (WZZ)’s 63rd A320.
June 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) launched 4 routes between June 10 and the 15. London Luton (LTN) and Budapest (BUD) both see the addition of 2 new destinations. None of the airport pairs launched face direct competition and all operate 2x-weekly using (WZZ)’s A320s. The latest route launches mean that Wizz Air (WZZ) now operates to 30 destinations from Luton, and 39 from Budapest.
The routes are as follows:
London Luton (LTN) to Ohrid (OHD), and to Constanta (CND);
Budapest (BUD) to Glasgow (GLA), and to Alghero (AHO).
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) has seen the introduction of 16 new routes to its network between June 19 and June 29 with the introduction of (WZZ)’s 1st routes to Aberdeen (ABZ), Billund (BLL), Bristol (BRS), Friedrichshafen (FDH), Niš (INI), and Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF). The new route launches also included the introduction of (WZZ)’s newest base, which opened in Tuzla (TZL) on June 26 with 1 based A320.
Routes as follows:
Gdansk (GDN) to Aberdeen (ABZ), A320 2x-, to Billund (BLL), A320 2x-, to Brussels Charleroi (CRL), A320 2x-, to Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF), A320 2x-;
Szczecin (SZZ) to Bergen (BGO), A320 3x-;
Katowice (KTW) to Larnaca (LCA), A320 2x-;
Tuzla (TZL) to Frankfurt Hahn (HHN), A320 2x-, to Oslo Torp (TRF), A320 2x;
Nis (INI) to Malmo (MMX), A320 3x-;
Warsaw Chopin (WAW) to Stavanger (SVG), A320 2x-, vs Norwegian (NWG), 2x-;
(KTW) to Bologna (BLO) A320 2x-, to Bristol (BRS) A320 2x-;
(TZL) to Memmingen (FMM), A320 2x-, to Stockholm Skavsta (NYO), A320, 2x-;
Skopje (SKP) to Friedrichshafen (FDH), A320 2x-, to Oslo Torp (TRF), A320 2x-.
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to buy 110 Airbus A321neos, marking the biggest single order for the type, it was announced at the Paris Air Show. (WZZ) also agreed to option rights on a further 90 A321neos.
According to Airbus (EDS), the aircraft will be fitted in the latest A321neo Airbus Cabin Flex configuration with 239 seats. No engine selection has been made. Wizz Air (WZZ) (CEO) Jozsef Varadi said he expected selection between the (CFM) (LEAP) and Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1100) geared turbofan will be made in the next year or so.
"We are very motivated by any Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) initiatives that can deliver more efficiencies, so we are very excited about the 239-seat configuration," Varadi said. "We are 1 of the fastest growing airlines in Europe and we will continue to be in that position."
Last November, Varadi said (WZZ) was aiming to nearly double in size by 2019, when it plans to hit 30 million passengers a year and a 100-aircraft fleet.
Wizz Air (WZZ) operates 61 aircraft on 1 of Central and Eastern Europe’s most extensive networks with >380 routes from 22 bases.
July 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) has launched 3 new routes from Budapest to Bologna, Glasgow, and Alghero (Sardinia). Each will be served 2x-weekly with Airbus A320s.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) has launched 4 new services on the days of the June 30 and July 1 using A320s 2x-weekly. The latest routes follow on from the launch of 16x- routes by (WZZ) in the previous 2 weeks. All of the latest airport pairs beginning this week operate with a 2x-weekly service, and none of the 4 face direct competition. Although the service from Ohrid is to Basel, (WZZ) is selling the route to the French portion of the tri-national airport at Mulhouse (MLH) due to traffic rights agreement not being available to Macedonia for non-Swiss or Macedonian airlines.
Skopje (SKP) to Barcelona (BCN), to Lubeck (LBC), and to Nuremburg (NUE), and Ohrid (OHD) to Mulhouse (MLH).
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) has added 5 new routes to its Sofia (SOF) network thanks to the arrival of a 5th A320 to be based at the Bulgarian capital. 2x-weekly flights were launched to Bari (BRI), Cologne Bonn (CGN), Geneva (GVA), Memmingen (FMM), and Naples (NAP) on either July 26 or 27. (WZZ) faces no competition on any of these routes. This brings to 22 the number of destinations now served by (WZZ) from Sofia. The 89x-weekly departures now operated by (WZZ) from Sofia means the Bulgarian capital is currently (WZZ)’s 7th busiest airport after London Luton (297x-weekly departures), Budapest (217x-), Gdansk (139x-), Bucharest (137x-), Warsaw (112x-) and Katowice (108x-).
News Item A-4: Wizz Air (WZZ) begins 2x-weekly, Birmingham to Warsaw and Budapest to Warsaw in mid-September.
August 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) has reported a 1st-quarter net profit of +€32.9 million/+$36 million, up +12.5% compared to +€29.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenues were up +12.7% at €332.5 million, compared to €295.2 million for the year-ago period.
(WZZ) said it achieved what it called a “record” 1st-quarter performance, despite Easter falling a week earlier than in 2014, with an estimated negative impact of -€5.5 million on the quarter’s revenue and profit. Ancillary revenue per passenger increased +3% to €26 for the quarter compared to a year previously.
1st-quarter passenger numbers jumped +20.3% to 4.9 million. Load factor climbed +1.3%, to 88.8% LF, over the comparable period.
(WZZ) said forward bookings indicate a robust demand for the peak summer period. As a result, underlying net profit for the full year is now expected to be in the range of +€175 to +€185 million, a +€10 million rise on previous guidance.
News Item A-2: UK aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will push Hungary-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) to extend its time limit for paying compensation to passengers affected by flight delays to 6 years, from the current 2-year deadline.
The (CAA) initiated enforcement action against (WZZ), UK carrier Jet2 (JT2) and Ireland’s Aer Lingus (ARL) over their approach to paying compensation for delayed and canceled flights. Under (EU) consumer regulations, carriers are responsible for paying compensation of up to €600/$695 per passenger if they land at their destination >3 hours late due to anything other than “extraordinary circumstances.” Those circumstances include bad weather or strikes.
The UK Court of Appeal ruled last year that technical faults on board aircraft generally do not fall within this category, leaving airlines potentially facing major payouts.
European regional carriers, in particular, have expressed fears that they could be disproportionately affected by the regulations in the event of a delayed aircraft, resulting in missed onward connections. The (CAA) said last year that it recognized airlines’ concerns over the proportionality of compensation payments and accepted that airfares might have to rise as a result.
The (CAA) announced in March 2015 that it had initiated action against Jet2 (JT2) and Wizz Air (WZZ), saying it was concerned they were not paying compensation for flights disrupted by technical faults.
The (CAA) said it also had evidence that both airlines were imposing a 2-year time limit on passengers making compensation claims following disruption. This was despite a separate Court of Appeal decision last year, which stated that passengers had up to 6 years from the disruption, to refer a compensation claim to court.
In addition, the (CAA)’s review of airline policies found issues with the way (JT2) and Aer Lingus (ARL) provided information to passengers during disruption. Under (EU) regulations, airlines must proactively provide information to travelers about their rights during long delays and cancellations.
The (CAA) added that (JT2) and (WZZ) had confirmed they are now paying compensation for ordinary technical faults. (JT2) is also now processing compensation claims dating back 6 years, and both (JT2) and (ARL) have agreed to improve the quality of information, they provide to passengers during disruptions.
However, said the (CAA), (WZZ) had refused to remove its 2-year limit on claims. As a result, the (CAA) had referred this matter to the Hungarian Authority for Consumer Protection (HACP), the best-placed local regulator to take forward enforcement action.
The (HACP) had agreed to take up the case under the Consumer Protection Co-Operation network, which enables the (CAA) to request enforcement bodies in other (EU) countries to take action to stop airline practices that harm UK consumers. The (HACP) approves Hungarian carriers’ General Conditions of Carriage, so would presumably be able to order a change in (WZZ)’s policies.
“We always have and continue to conduct all operations in accordance with applicable regulations,” (WZZ) said.
News Item A-3: Like other European (LCC)s, Wizz Air (WZZ) has introduced allocated seating in response to passenger demand. It signed a Memo of Understanding (MOU) at the Paris Air Show for 110 Airbus A321neos (plus options for a further 90) to provide growth capacity until the end of 2024.
The new aircraft are planned to replace >50 aircraft due to be retired from 2019 to 2024, as well as accommodate expansion.
(WZZ) instituted 22 new routes and 2 new bases in the 1st quarter.
“With the continued expansion of our network, (WZZ) expects to grow capacity by around +17% in the 2016 financial year, spread evenly across the year. We continue to believe that there will be no earnings benefit from the decline in fuel prices over the last 12 months as the USA dollar has strengthened against the euro over the same period and, as expected, lower fuel prices are feeding through to lower unit revenues. We expect the downward trend in unit revenues to continue for the foreseeable future,” (WZZ) said.
September 2015: News Item A-1: Fast-growing Hungarian low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) has formalized the memorandum of understanding (MOU) it announced at the Paris Air Show in June to purchase 110 Airbus A321neos.
(WZZ) said the order was worth $13.7 billion at list prices, but said “Airbus (EDS) has granted significant discounts.” (WZZ) added that it retained its commitment to purchase a further 48 aircraft from Airbus, comprising 21 A320ceos and 27 A321ceos. The 1st (WZZ) A321ceo aircraft will enter service in November, configured with 230 seats.
“All aircraft under the existing order are scheduled for delivery by 2018, however, under an amendment agreement entered into September 11 (which is conditional on the new Airbus (EDS) agreement coming into force), 10 A320ceo aircraft currently scheduled for delivery in 2018, under the existing order, will be canceled,” (WZZ) stated.
The new agreement includes the purchase of 110 Airbus A321neos for delivery between 2019 and 2024, (WZZ) said. “These aircraft will enable Wizz Air (WZZ) to renew its existing fleet and provide additional capacity for further growth. Airbus neo aircraft provide additional efficiencies that will enable (WZZ) to offer even lower fares to the market and will ensure (WZZ) maintains its young, efficient, industry leading fleet.”
Of the 110 aircraft to be delivered to (WZZ) under the new Airbus (EDS) agreement, 51 aircraft will be replacements for aircraft to be returned to lessors or sold between 2019 and 2024.
“The new Airbus (EDS) agreement also provides for purchase rights for the purchase of an additional 90 A321neo aircraft. These purchase rights can be exercised in four batches by June 2017, June 2018, June 2019, and June 2020, respectively,” (WZZ) said.
(WZZ) said it had also negotiated “a significant amount of flexibility with Airbus” to ensure the aircraft delivery stream matches its operational needs, including the ability to substitute a certain number of A321neos with the same number of A320neos.
(WZZ) has also committed to making an engine selection for the new aircraft by December 31, 2016. Options for the neo are the (CFM) International (LEAP) and Pratt & Whitney (PRW) (PW1000) geared turbofan.
“This order will help us to build on our strong market position in Central and Eastern Europe. It also provides significant flexibility to match our fleet to our growth requirements. The new aircraft will enable us to sustain our cost advantage through cabin innovations, the latest engine technology and other efficiency improvements, while enhancing our customer offering and experience.
Airbus (EDS) is a key partner for us and we believe they have the best aircraft to serve our markets and we are happy to be continuing our longstanding relationship with them,” Wizz Air (WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) commenced services on 4 new airport pairs on September 14, including (WZZ)’s 1st services to Birmingham (BHX) from Warsaw Chopin (WAW). The 1,535 km sector connecting the Polish capital with the UK’s 2nd largest city will operate 2x-weekly on Mondays and Fridays, facing no direct competition. The city pair was last operated by bmibaby in 2008. (WZZ) will also launch services from Birmingham to Budapest on September 15. Other new routes launched on September 14 include services from Lublin (LUZ) to Brussels Charleroi (CRL). The route becomes the 6th for (WZZ) from the Polish city, which is now a base for the low-cost carrier (LCC). None of the airport pairs will face any competition, and all will be served with a 2x-weekly operation, flown by (WZZ)’s A320s.
Routes as follows:
Lublin (LUZ) to Brussels Charleroi (CRL);
Vilnius (VNO) to Billund (BLL) and to Memmingen (FMM);
Warsaw Chopin (WAW) to Birmingham (BHX).
News Item A-3: Budapest Airport has opened a maintenance hangar built exclusively for its home-based carrier, Wizz Air (WZZ) under a 15-year lease. Built between existing maintenance hangars operated by Lufthansa Technik (LTK) and Aeroplex, the new 2,000 sq m hangar has been designed to accommodate larger A321s due to join the Wizz Air (WZZ) fleet in 2019.
News Item A-4: Fast-growing Hungarian low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) signed an agreement with China Development Bank’s (CDB) Leasing to finance 6 Airbus A321ceos. The deal includes (WZZ)’s 1st 2 A321s scheduled for delivery later this year.
“We’ve developed a strong relationship with (CDB) Leasing as they continue to support our growth, now financing the 1st of our new A321s,” (CEO) József Váradi said.
(WZZ) takes delivery of its 1st A321ceo in November and its 2nd in December. These aircraft are part of an existing order. (WZZ) recently confirmed a new order from Airbus for 110 new A321neo aircraft, which will begin delivery in 2019.
(WZZ) currently operates 63 180-seat A320s, 6 of which are also financed by (CDB) Leasing and were delivered in 2014 to 2015.
October 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) began 2x-weekly, Birmingham to Warsaw and to Budapest services in mid-September.
News Item A-2: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) Maintenance International and Wizz Air (WZZ) have extended a contract for line maintenance in Romania and Slovakia. The new agreement runs for 8 years from November 2015.
November 2015: News Item A-1: "Wizz Air 6-Month Profit up +15%" by (ATW) Alan Dron, November 4, 2015.
Wizz Air (WZZ) posted a net profit of +€182 million/+$204.6 million for the 6 months ended September 30, up +15.2% compared to a net profit of +€158 million for the year-ago period.
(WZZ), the Central European low-cost carrier (LCC) achieved the result on revenue of €836 million, up +15% year-over-year. Ticket revenue rose +11.6% to €545 million, while ancillary revenue climbed +21.9% to €292 million. Ancillary revenue now accounts for about 1-third of the company’s total turnover.
Passenger numbers were up +20% at 10.7 million on the year-ago period, while load factor rose +1.6% to 90.7% LF compared to the prior year. (CASK) dropped by -5.1% over the 6-month period, from 3.64 to 3.46 euro cents.
Announcing the figures in Geneva, November 4, (CEO), József Váradi said that a strong summer performance had reinforced (WZZ)’s market leadership in the Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) region, where it held 39% of the market, with Ireland-based (LCC) Ryanair (RYR) second with 30%.
Váradi revealed he had signed a new, 5-year contract to lead (WZZ) at the same time as announcing the departure of (CFO) Michael Powell “for personal reasons.” Powell had been with the company for 8 years, he said, but now wished to “reunite with his family.”
(WZZ) predicts a +18% (ASK) growth for the full year, with a “modest improvement” in load factor, while guidance on profit remains unchanged at +€190 to +€200 million, excluding any unusual or exceptional charges.
Executive VP John Stephenson said there remains good prospects for the (CEE) region, due to a combination of weak legacy carriers and a propensity to travel among (CEE) residents that was just 25% of that of their counterparts in Western Europe, which gives plenty of headroom for growth.
This was particularly so, given that (CEE) economies’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures were predicted to grow at +3% to +4% for the next few years, double the rate of Western European nations.
(WZZ) has recently joined other (LCC)s in introducing facilities such as allocated seating and the ability for priority boarding passengers to take a 2nd carry-on item of baggage. Both had been in response to customer demand, he said.
The figures were released the day after shareholders approved the purchase of 110 Airbus A321neo. (WZZ) currently has 63 A320ceo in its fleet, with a further 38 ceo-family aircraft on order, with flexibility over which version is eventually delivered.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) launched 3 new routes over the course of last week, starting on October 27 with services between London Luton (LTN) and Chisinau (KIV) in Moldova, a city pair which will operate 3x-weekly. On October 29, (WZZ) then commenced operations between Bucharest (OTP) and Pescara (PSR) in Italy. The 988 km airport pairing will be served 2x-weekly on Thursdays and Sundays. Finally, on October 30, Wizz Air (WZZ) launched flights between Budapest (BUD) and Tenerife South (TFS). Services between the Hungarian capital and the Spanish island will also be flown 2x-weekly on Mondays and Fridays. All 3 of the new routes will be flown by (WZZ)’s A320s, with none facing any incumbent carriers.
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) has begun Airbus A321ceo operations. The 1st of the 230-seat aircraft is initially being deployed on the Budapest to London Luton route. A 2nd aircraft will follow in December, with 9 due for delivery in 2016 and the remainder of the 26-strong order through 2018.
The 1st 4 A321ceos will be based in Budapest and subsequent deliveries will be deployed on the most popular routes in the Wizz Air (WZZ) network, which is focused around Central and Eastern Europe.
At this year’s Paris Air Show, (WZZ) placed a follow-on order for 110 Airbus A321neo aircraft for delivery from 2019 through 2024.
Adding the A321ceo, the largest member of the A320 family, positions (WZZ) to meet growing passenger demand in Central and Eastern Europe. In the 1st half of fiscal year 2016 (ending March 31, 2016), (WZZ) carried 10.7 million passengers, a +20% increase over the same period in the previous year, with load factor growing to 90.7% LF.
“The biggest benefit of the A321 for our passengers is the lower fares we can offer as result of its greater efficiency versus our current A320s,” (WZZ) Executive VP John Stephenson said.
(WZZ) recently announced a leasing agreement with (CDB) Leasing, an arm of China Development Bank, to finance 6 of its A321ceos, including the 2 being delivered this year.
News Item A-4: Wizz Air (WZZ)’s shareholders have approved the proposed purchase of 110 Airbus A321neos from Airbus during a general meeting held on November 3. (WZZ)’s owners voted 100% in favor of the aircraft acquisition during the meeting, which was held at Wizz Air (WZZ)’s Geneva offices.
(WZZ) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the aircraft at the Paris Air Show in June and finalized the order in September.
“We welcome the approval of our shareholders of this important transaction which means we can continue to build on our strong market position in Central and Eastern Europe. The new aircraft will enable us to sustain our cost advantage through cabin innovations, the latest engine technology and other efficiency improvements, while enhancing our customer offering and experience. The agreement with Airbus (EDS) also provides significant flexibility to match our fleet to our growth requirements,” (WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said.
Wizz Air (WZZ) operates a fleet of 63 Airbus A320 aircraft across its network of 22 bases and 390 routes.
News Item A-5: Wizz Air (WZZ) has renewed 2 8-year Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) contracts with Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) Maintenance International (LTMI) and Lufthansa Technik Budapest (LTB) for line maintenance services on its fleets based in Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.
Under the agreements, (LTMI) and (LTB) will provide a single point of contact for all line maintenance issues, preventive maintenance and performance monitoring of the fleet.
Wizz Air (WZZ) recently opened a maintenance hangar in Budapest. The contract will support up to 100 jobs in the region.
(WZZ) is the largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in Central and Eastern Europe. It operates a fleet of 64 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, offers >390 routes from 22 bases, and transports 16.5 million passengers, according to figures released for its financial year ended March 31, 2015.
December 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) is to begin 2x-weekly, Budapest to Nice March 11, 2016, as well as 2x-weekly, Budapest to- Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden.
News Item A-2: (WZZ) will open its 23rd base July 1 in Iasi, Romania, with 1 A320. Iasi will be (WZZ)’s 6th Romanian airport with base operations. The aircraft will increase the number of routes served from Iasi to 8 and will triple the seat capacity to 265,000 in 2016.
(WZZ) will operate 5 new routes from its Iasi base to Bologna, Catania, Larnaca, Rome Ciampino, and Tel Aviv beginning in July, all initially operating 2x-weekly services, except Iasi to Bologna will be 3x-weekly. Frequencies on its existing Iasi to London Luton and Milan Bergamo will also be increased.
January 2016: News Item A-1: "Wizz Air’s Full-year Profit Forecast Grows" by (ATW) Alan Dron, January 27, 2016.
Central European low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) reported net profits of +€15.6 million/+$17 million for (3Q) 2015, a drop of -20.9% on the same quarter a year previously. Revenue increased +17.3% to €310 million.
Particularly noticeable in the latter figure was the rise in ancillary revenues compared to the year-ago period, up +25.8% to €123 million; ticket revenues rose +12.4% to €187 million. Unit costs, meanwhile, fell by -7.4% to 3.4 euro cents per (ASK) for the comparative period.
Guidance for underlying net profit for the full 2015 - 2016 financial year has risen slightly from the previous range of €190 to €200 million to €200 to €210 million. Underlying net profit is defined as reported net profit less the impact of foreign exchange transactions and exceptional items.
Passenger numbers for the quarter jumped +23.2% to 4.7 million compared to a year previously, while load factor edged up to 85.7% LF compared to 84.6% LF.
Wizz Air (WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said (WZZ)’s ancillary revenue levels were “the highest by far” in Europe.
Around 45% of these came from baggage charges, although this figure had now plateaued; the remaining 55% came from a wide range of initiatives such as allocated seating, commission from third-party services such as car hire and subscription to the airline’s club that provided priority access to fare deals.
“The mix keeps growing,” Váradi said. “We’re planning on increasing ancillary revenues by around €1 per passenger per year, going forward.” Currently, average ancillary revenue per passenger stands at €26. It was becoming increasingly difficult to increase the amount per passenger, “But we’re confident we can improve existing [revenue] streams and launch new ones.”
The growth in passenger numbers compared to a year previously came primarily (62%) from increased frequencies on existing routes, not new ones, he said.
Importantly, he added, (WZZ)’s cost control had been enhanced, with cost per (ASK) down -7%. The latter figure was due only partly to low fuel prices. (WZZ) was one of the few European carriers to have achieved a drop in ex-fuel costs, he said.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) on January 11 inaugurated services from Sofia (SOF) to Bristol (BRS), with the 1st flight carrying 173 passengers representing a load factor of 98% LF. The 2,185 km link will be operated 2x-weekly on Mondays and Thursdays utilizing (WZZ)’s fleet of A320s. The city pair will face no incumbent carriers.
Bristol becomes the second UK connection for (WZZ) from Sofia, with Bristol joining services to London Luton. A 3rd route to the UK, Birmingham, is planned to be launched by (WZZ) on March 28.
Commenting on the commencement of Bristol services, Tamara Mshvenieradze, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air (WZZ) said: “With this new route from Sofia to Bristol 2x-weekly, we provide a perfect opportunity to visit this great city with a unique atmosphere for either a short weekend break or a longer stay. Likewise, passengers traveling from Bristol can enjoy the wonderful ski resorts located close to Sofia at Vitosha Mountain or the Borovets region in the province of Sofia.” Mariana Kirilova Managing Director of Sofia Airport, added: “We completed a very successful year in which >4 million passengers passed through Sofia Airport, with 2016 looking to be even more promising. The new route from Sofia to Bristol operated by (WZZ) will be the 50th in a constantly expanding network from the Bulgarian capital. Another 4 new destinations for Sofia will be added at the end March.” This winter Wizz Air (WZZ) will operate 72x-weekly flights from Sofia across 23 destinations. That is an increase of +33% on last winter when (WZZ) served just 17 destinations. Since then, it has added new routes to Bari, Cologne Bonn, Geneva, Memmingen, and Naples, as well as the new Bristol service.
February 2016: News Item A-1: Ryanair (RYR) (CEO), Michael O’Leary said he expects (RYR) to overtake Wizz Air (WZZ) in Central Europe to become the largest carrier in these markets by 2018.
News Item A-2: Russia and Cyprus have agreed to remove “all the limitations on the number of designated airlines of both sides on agreed routes” between the countries. The liberalization was established in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Russia and Cyprus aeronautical authorities on March 16, 2012, but became effective in January 2015, after a letter exchange between the administrations.
Cyprus authorities also asked Russia to allow non-Cyprus but European Union (EU) carriers to operate flights on the routes. “We take this opportunity to urge you to consider on an exceptional basis the designation of European carriers, which are established in Cyprus, by the Republic of Cyprus, to operate routes between Russia and Cyprus. This is especially important as at this time, almost a year after the termination of the flight program of Cyprus Airways (CYP), there is no national or other Cypriot carrier which could operate these routes. We believe that this arrangement will provide a better equilibrium between our 2 countries,” Civil Aviation official, Antonis Lemesianos said in the letter.
Bilateral agreements between Russia and most other countries stipulate that flights can only be operated by airlines that are owned and managed by residents of the 2 countries. The non-residential ownership was the main obstacle for Budapest-based Wizz Air (WZZ) to get the designation for the Budapest to Moscow route after Malev (HGA) ceased operations and gave Aeroflot (ARO) a monopoly on the destination for a while.
In July 2015, Russian airlines asked aviation authorities not to make changes of this kind in the Russia - Cyprus agreement.
News Item A-3: "Wizz Air (WZZ) Announces New Base in Georgia" by (ATW) Kurt Hofmann, February 18, 2016.
Wizz Air plans to locate its 22nd base in Kutaisi, Georgia, opening with a single Airbus A320 and 7 new routes from September.
New 2x-weekly services from Kutaisi will include Berlin Schönefeld, Memmingen, Milan Bergamo, Dortmund, Larnaca, and Sofia, while flights between Kutaisi and Thessaloniki will be flown 3x-weekly. The new aircraft will increase the number of routes served from Kutaisi to 11.
(WZZ) operates a fleet of 66 Airbus A320 and A321s on >400 routes from 24 bases, connecting 118 destinations across 38 countries. In 2015, (WZZ) transported 19.2 million passengers.
News Item A-4: See Wizz Air A320 video:
March 2015: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) on March 11 commenced 2 new connections from Budapest (BUD) to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden (FKB) and Nice (NCE), both of which are new stations on the Wizz Air network. The 842- and 1,825 km sectors will be served by (WZZ) 2x-weekly on Mondays and Fridays, with neither route facing direct competition.
Wizz Air (WZZ)’s new routes to Germany and France will be flown by its fleet of A320s. (WZZ) will further expand its network from Budapest in March by opening connections to Liverpool, Malta, Reykjavik/Keflavik, and Baku before month end, with all 3 currently scheduled to be served 2x-weekly. Further routes from Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden will also be added later this month to Belgrade and Tirgu Mures.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) appointed former Vueling (VUZ) (CFO) Sonia Jerez Burdeus as its (CFO), effective June 1. She was also a member of the founding management team of Clickair S A and was (CFO) from 2006 to 2008 when Clickair S A merged with Vueling (VUZ).
April 2016: Wizz Air (WZZ) began 2x-weekly, Budapest to Nice and to Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden.
May 2016: A321-231 (7114, HA-LXE), ex-(D-AZAP) delivery.
June 2016: Wizz Air (WZZ) has announced the departure of Executive VP John Stephenson and the appointment of George Michalopoulos as (CCO).
Stephenson joined (WZZ) 10 years ago, in 2006. He originally held the role of (CCO) and was promoted to become Executive VP in 2009. His resignation was announced June 16, with a planned departure date of August 24.
(WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said Stephenson has played a “central role” in (WZZ)’s growth.
Wizz Air (WZZ) announced that Michalopoulos (who has been head of Network Development, Scheduling & Sales since May 2015) has been promoted to (CCO), effective September 1. In his new role, Michalopoulos will report directly to Váradi. He is replacing György Abrán, who will leave in September after 12 years with (WZZ).
Michalopoulos has been with (WZZ) since 2010, when he joined (WZZ) as Head of Pricing & Revenue Management. He previously worked in commercial functions at Swiss regional airline FlyBaboo and Blu-Express.
Váradi said Michalopoulos has been internally promoted after delivering “outstanding results” for his department.
Wizz Air (WZZ) operates a fleet of 69 Airbus A320 and A321s across its network of 420 routes and 25 bases.
July 2017: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) reported a 1st-quarter net income of +€50.7 million/+$56 million, up +54.2% from a +€32.9 million profit in the year-ago period.
(WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said the results demonstrate the resilience of (WZZ)’s business model.
Over the 3 months to June 30, (WZZ)’s ticket revenues increased +3% to €212 million, but ancillary revenue was up +20.8% at €152.9 million (forming a high proportion of overall revenues, which rose +9.8% to total €364.9 million).
Expenses increased +7.8% to €321 million, producing an operating profit of +€43.9 million, up +26.8% from a +€34.7 million operating profit in the prior-year quarter. Underlying net profit was +13.9% up at +€38.6 million.
Traffic rose +20.8% to 9 billion (RPK)s on a +19.7% increase in capacity to 10.1 billion (ASK)s, producing a load factor of 89.5% LF, up 0.7 of a point.
Yield dipped -9.1% to 4.04 cents as (RASK) lowered 8.3% to 3.62 cents and (CASK) decreased -10% to 3.19 cents. (CASK) ex-fuel was 2.26 cents, up +2.3%.
Load factors are expected to register a “modest improvement,” coupled with a -5% reduction in (CASK), while (RASK) is forecast to register a mid-single digit fall.
(WZZ) also confirmed its +€245 to +€255 million underlying net profit guidance for the full year, although it cautioned that this is based on “limited visibility” over summer trading and second-half revenues.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) has halved its planned second-half growth in the UK as a “direct result” of the UK’s recent vote to leave the European Union (EU).
“The UK’s decision to leave the (EU) has led to a notable weakness in fares (in euro terms) on routes to/from the UK mainly due to the much weaker British pound, which is currently -19% lower than the same period last year versus the euro. (WZZ) has already started readjusting its network due to this weakness and halving its intended second half growth to the UK and redeploying this capacity to other non-UK routes,” (WZZ) said at the release of its first-quarter results.
During the first quarter, (WZZ) announced 29 new routes and added 3 Airbus A321s to its fleet. This takes it to 8 of the larger A320 family variant and a total of 70 aircraft, which will be boosted to 10 A321s and 73 aircraft overall by the end of the 2nd quarter.
Across its whole network, Wizz Air (WZZ) was planning to add +18% capacity in the 1st half and 16% in the 2nd. This had now changed to 16% to 17% overall, made up of 17% in the 1st half and 14 to 16% in the 2nd, although this will depend on market conditions.
“Despite continued downward pressure on unit revenues as lower fuel prices feed through to lower fares and weakness in the British pound, both operating margins and underlying net profit margins for the quarter are expected to be broadly in line with last year,” it said, repeating guidance for a €245 to €255 million/$270.7 to $281.8 million full-year underlying net profit.
August 2016: Wizz Air (WZZ) has opened 8 new routes, 4 of which launched from its new Sibiu (SBZ) base, its 7th base in Romania and 24th overall. (WZZ) will station 1 A320 at the facility with it opening new flights to Madrid (MAD), Memmingen (FMM), Milan/Bergamo (BGY), and Nuremberg (NUE), joining (WZZ)’s existing services to Dortmund and London Luton from the airport. As well as (WZZ) opening a new base, it also introduced a new airport to its network, Podgorica (TGD), with (WZZ) linking the Montenegrin capital to Memmingen and Milan/Bergamo. All 8 of (WAA)’s latest routes will be flown on its A320 fleet, with the average weekly frequency being 2.5 and average sector length being 1,337 km.
Routes as follows:
Sibiu (SBZ) to Nuremberg (NUE), A320 3x-weekly;
London Luton (LTN) to Suceava (SCV), A320 4x-;
Dortmund (DTM) to Nis (INI), A320 3x-;
Milan/Bergamo (BGY) to Podgorica (TGD), A320 2x-;
Sibiu (SBZ) to Madrid (MAD) and Milan/Bergamo (BGY); A320 2x-;
Memmingen (FMM) to Podgorica (TGD); A320 2x-;
Sibiu (SBZ) to Memmingen (FMM); A320 2x-.
September 2016: A321-231 (7316, HA-LXJ), ex-(D-AVYO) delivery.
October 2016: Lufthansa Technik (DLH) (LTK) has an expanded existing technical support deal with Wizz Air (WZZ) to include Airbus A320 and A321neo component support, aircraft overhaul and Cyclean engine washes through 2022.
November 2016: Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin 2x-weekly Cologne Bonn to Craiova service on March 27, 2017.
December 2016: Wizz Air (WZZ) will start 3x-weekly Varna to Dortmund service on July 21, 2017 and 2x-weekly Varna to Eindhoven service on July 23, 2017.
January 2017: Wizz Air (WZZ) in 2016 had 22.78 million passengers +17.1%, 35.84 million (RPK)s (2015: 29.45 million (RPK)s; +21.7%; 89.3% LF (2015: 88.1% LF).
A321-231 (7488, HA-LXL), ex-(D-AVZH), (BOC) Aviation (SIL) leased.
February 2017: Wizz Air (WZZ) will begin daily Frankfurt to Sofia and to Budapest service, from May 22 and December 15, respectively.
2 A321-231 (7528, HA-LXM; 7532, HA-LXN), ex-(D-AYAE, D-AVZU) deliveries.
March 2017: Wizz Air (WZZ) added a 6th aircraft to its Katowice (KTW) base this week, with the extra capacity allowing for 4 new routes to be launched, starting on March 10 with services to Malta (MLA) and Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF). Routes to Catania (CTA) and Lisbon (LIS) followed, launching on March 11 and 12, respectively. All 4 routes will be flown 2x-weekly on (WZZ)’s A320s. Along with these routes, (WZZ) also opened a new service from its Cluj to Napoca (CLJ) base to Bratislava (BTS) this week. The average sector length of (WZZ)’s 5 new routes is 1,812 kms, with none facing any direct competition. Katowice is (WZZ)’s 6th largest base and has 3.7% of (WZZ)’s weekly seat capacity, while Cluj to Napoca is 7th largest with 3.4%.
April 2017: Wizz Air (WZZ) agreed to lease a further 4 Airbus narrow body jets. Under the terms of the deal, (WZZ) will receive 2 new-build A320s and 2 A321s from Vermillion Aviation Holdings, Ireland, which are due for delivery between July 2017 and March 2018.
May 2017: News Item A-1: Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) reported a net profit of +€246 million/+$258.3 million for the financial year ended March 31, up +28% compared to net profit of +€193 million in the previous financial year. (WZZ) attributed the results to capacity expansion, higher load factors, greater passenger growth and continued improvements to its ultra-low-cost base. “The resilience of our ultra-low-cost business model, which we are convinced is the best model for stimulating air travel in Central Eastern Europe (CEE), combined with our growing diversified network and our ever-stronger balance sheet, places (WZZ) in a unique position to exploit the significant market opportunity that exists in a market of >300 million people,” (WZZ) (CEO) Josef Varadi said.
Revenue for the period was up +10% to €1.57 billion year-over-year (YOY). Passenger numbers increased +19% (YOY) to 23.8 million; ASKs were up +19.7%. Load factor increased +1.9% points to 90.1% LF (YOY). Ancillary revenue was up +22.7% (YOY) to €655.7million. “We will continue to expand our route network, drive efficiency in our operating model, grow our ancillary revenue streams and enhance our compelling customer proposition,” Varadi said.
(WZZ) said that despite the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (EU) (Brexit), there are no signs of demand weakness on routes to/from the UK. The negative translation effect on British pound revenues as a result of Brexit in (FY) 2017 is estimated to be -€17 million, which (WZZ) said was absorbed by the rest of (WZZ)’s large and diversified route network.
During the 2017 financial year, (WZZ) added 12 Airbus A321ceos, taking its fleet to 79 aircraft at the end of March. The average fleet age is 4.4 years. “We continue to build on that foundation with a delivery stream of brand new A321ceo aircraft, which deliver double-digit cost savings compared to the A320ceo,” Varadi said.
At the end of (FY) 2017, (WZZ) operated 16 A321ceos and 63 A320ceos.
Looking forward to FY2018, (WZZ) said growth will continue as a top priority. (WZZ) plans to increase capacity +23% and carry nearly 30 million passengers in (FY) 2018.
“We had a strong start to (FY) 2017 due to the timing of Easter, which leaves us optimistic for the year ahead and group net profit is currently expected to be in a range between €250 million and €270 million in FY2018.”
At the end of March, (WZZ) operated a network of 486 routes operating from 28 bases, connecting 141 destinations in 42 countries.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) will launch 2x-weekly Budapest to St Petersburg Airbus A320 service on August 27, becoming the 1st foreign low cost carrier (LCC) to operate to Russia’s Pulkovo International Airport.
(WZZ) received a Budapest to Moscow Vnukovo designation and launched flights to the Russian capital in 2013. Since then, it has carried 440,000 passengers between the 2 cities, (WZZ) said.
St Petersburg is (WZZ)’s 13th destination from Budapest. (WZZ) connects the Hungarian capital with 63 cities across Europe and beyond, which makes its Budapest offering the most diverse in the company’s network.
Wizz Air (WZZ) operates flights from 2 Hungarian bases in Budapest and Debrecen with 12 aircraft. In 2016, (WZZ) carried 3.7 million passengers to and from Hungary, up +23% year-over-year (YOY).
Pulkovo St Petersburg Airport is the 4th airport in Russia in terms of passenger traffic. In the 1st quarter, Pulkovo traffic grew +25% (YOY) to 2.9 million passengers.
News Item A-3: Wizz Air (WZZ) has been busy promoting the 8 new routes it opened this month across Europe, with the services including 2 new airports to (WZZ)’s network: Frankfurt (FRA) and Osijek (OSI)). Commenting on the launch of flights to Frankfurt, Gabor Vasarhelyi, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air, said: “We are thrilled to be starting operations from Frankfurt Airport, the 11th airport that (WZZ) serves in Germany.
(WZZ) will connect Frankfurt to Sofia with a daily service and (WZZ) will shortly launch a 2nd route to another dynamic Central European capital, Budapest [begins December].” By launching flights to Osijek, (WZZ) now serves 2 airports in Croatia, with its new route between Basel and Osijek complementing (WZZ)’s existing seasonal services to Split from London Luton and Warsaw Chopin.
Apart from (WZZ)’s new service between Sofia and Frankfurt, the remaining sectors launched by (WZZ) this month will operate 2x-weekly. The average sector length of (WZZ)’s 8 new routes is 1,119 km.
Routes as follows:
Basel (BSL) to Osijek (OSI);
Belgrade (BEG) to Friedrichshafen (FDH); to Hannover (HAJ); to Malta (MLA), vs Air Serbia (XXX) 1x-; to Nuremberg (NUE);
Oslo Torp (TRF) to Olsztyn-Mazury (SZY);
Lublin (LUZ) to Liverpool (LPL);
Sofia (SOF) to Frankfurt (FRA), vs Lufthansa (DLH) 14x-, Bulgaria Air (XXX) 5x-.
A321-231 (7647, HA-LXR), ex-(D-AVYI) delivery.
July 2017: Wizz Air (WZZ) saw double 7s at Warsaw Chopin (WAW) this month, with (WZZ) not only adding a 7th based aircraft at the airport, but (WZZ), the Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) has also commenced 7 new routes.
(WZZ) now links Warsaw, the Polish capital to Agadir (AGA), Bratislava (BTS), Bucharest (OTP), Kiev Zhulyany (IEV), Lamezia Terme (SUF), Lyon (LYS) and Nice (NCE), with Agadir and Lyon being new airports on (WZZ)’s route map.
With these additions, Wizz Air (WZZ) now links Chopin to 44 destinations in Summer 2017. Away from (WZZ)’s expansion from Poland, (WZZ) has also begun a 4x-weekly service between the capitals of Bulgaria and Slovakia.
The 777 km link from Sofia (SOF) to Bratislava will be flown on (WZZ)’s A320s facing no direct competition. The average sector length of (WZZ)’s new routes from Chopin is 1,407 km, while the average weekly frequency is 2.9. 3 of the routes see direct competition from Polish national carrier (LOT) Polish Airlines.
Sofia (SOF) to Bratislava (BTS), A320 4x-;
Warsaw Chopin (WAW) to Agadir (AGA), A321 2x-; to Bratislava (BTS) & Bucharest (OTP) A320 4x, vs (LOT) Polish Airlines 21x-; to Lyon (LYS), A320 2x-; to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) & Nice (NCE) A320 3x-, vs (LOT) Polish Airlines 7x-; to Lamezia Terme (SUF), A320 2x-.
August 2017: News Item A-1: On August 27 2017, Wizz Air (WZZ), the largest low cost carrier (LCC) in Central and Eastern Europe launched scheduled service from Budapest (Hungary) to Saint Petersburg (Russia). The 1st flight was traditionally greeted at Pulkovo airport with a water cannon salute from the airport firetrucks.
From August 27 until October 25th, the flights will leave from the Northern capital of Russia for the capital of Hungary on Sundays and Wednesdays. Starting with the (IATA) Winter 2017/2018 season, the frequency will increase to 3x-weekly (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday), then in May 2018 to 4x-weekly (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday). The service will be performed on A320 aircraft accommodating up to 180Y passengers.
The lowest fare now on the route is 59.99 euro/one way with all taxes included and non-optional charges.
(WZZ) expanded its presence at Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) this week by stationing a 2nd A320 at Kiev, the Ukrainian capital city airport, allowing (WZZ) the ultra low cost carrier (ULCC) to open new routes to Copenhagen (CPH), Frankfurt Hahn (HHN), Lublin (LUZ), Nuremberg (NUE) and Poznan (POZ).
The average frequency of (WZZ)’s new routes from Zhulyany is 2.4 and the mean sector length is 1,172 km. Along with its expansion from Zhulyany, (WZZ) has also introduced a new airport to its network from its 2nd largest base (Budapest (BUD)) starting a 2x-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) service to St Petersburg (LED) on August 27. The latter airport becomes (WZZ)’s 2nd destination in Russia after Moscow Vnukovo.
“We are delighted to welcome Wizz Air (WZZ), the 1st foreign low-cost carrier (LCC) to operate at St Petersburg Airport. Budapest is 1 of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a greatly desired destination among St Petersburg passengers. We are certain that the new direct air connection between the 2 cities and the high-quality and attractive product offered by (WZZ) will be in demand among tourists as well as business travelers from both sides,” noted Evgeniy Iliyn, (CCO) of St Petersburg Airport at the launch. The 1,548 km route between the Hungarian capital and the Russian city will see its 2x-weekly frequency increase to 3x-weekly in November, while a 4th weekly flight will be added in May for Summer 2018.
None of the 6 routes launched by (WZZ) will face direct competition.
October 2017: News Item A-1: Wizz Air (WZZ) has applied for a UK air operator’s certificate (AOC) to preserve its traffic rights as the UK prepares to leave the European Union (EU) (Brexit).
On October 17, (WZZ) said it had created new company Wizz Air UK and was reviewing the process for a UK (AOC). (WZZ) has now confirmed that Wizz Air UK has applied to the (UK) (CAA) for an (AOC) and operating license.
“Subject to receipt of its (AOC) and operating license from the (CAA), Wizz Air UK will begin operations in the UK in March 2018 with several UK-registered aircraft,” (WZZ) said.
Wizz Air Hungary’s London Luton operating base will become a Wizz Air UK operation, employing >100 management, pilot (FC) and cabin crew (CA) staff by the end of 2018. Routes not taken over by Wizz Air UK will continue to be operated by Wizz Air Hungary (WZZ).
“The UK remains the single biggest travel market in Europe and we are currently the UK’s 8th largest operator and this move is also part of our broader strategy to ensure that our UK operations are Brexit-ready,” (WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said.
Wizz Air (WZZ) operates 73 routes from 9 airports in the UK, covering 41 destinations. Over the past year, (WZZ) has carried >7 million passengers on those routes, up +14% year-on-year.
UK (LCC) easyJet (EZY) has also set up a new (AOC) in Austria, as a result of Brexit, to preserve its (EU) traffic rights. The Austrian airline, which started operating in July, is called easyJet Europe.
News Item A-2: Wizz Air (WZZ) is preparing to increase its fleet to 122 aircraft by 2020, up from 85, but this rapid growth is putting pressure on its maintenance resources. (WZZ) operates 85 aircraft (64 Airbus A320s and 21 A321s), which is set to grow to 92 by the end of the current financial year in March 2018. Over the full financial year, (WZZ) will have added 3 A320s and 10 A321s.
November 2017: News Item A-1: Profits, revenue and passengers all kept pace at Central and Eastern European (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ), as it reported substantial improvements in the 1st half of its financial year. The rapidly expanding carrier posted a record 1st-half net profit of +€288.6 million/+$334.7 million, up +24.6% on the year-ago figure of +€231.6 million. It achieved the result on revenues of €1.2 billion, up +24.8% from €921 million in the year-ago period.
News Item A-2: Airbus (EDS) signed a $49.5 billion deal on November 15 to sell 430 airplanes to Indigo Partners (INZ) the Phoenix based private equity firm, representing (EDS)' biggest deal ever at the Dubai Air Show.
Airbus (EDS)' previous biggest aircraft sale deal was made in August 2015, when it sold 250 A320neos to Indian low cost carrier (LCC) Indigo Airlines (unrelated to Indigo Partners) in a deal estimated to be worth $26 billion at list prices.
The Airbus (EDS) deal with Indigo Partners (INZ) will split the 430 airplane orders into 273 A320neos, and 157 A321neos among Denver, USA based Frontier Airlines (FRO), JetSmart (JSM) of Chile, Volaris (VLS) of Mexico and Wizz Air (WZZ) of Hungary. The A320neos list for $108.4 million apiece and A321neos at $127 million.
December 2018: Wizz Air (WZZ) has expanded its route offering from Gdansk (GDN) by opening 2 European capital connections to Lisbon (LIS) and Vilnius (VNO). The 1st route to launch was the 441 km connection to Lithuania which began on December 21. (WZZ) will offer a 3x-weekly rotation to Vilnius from Gdansk.
Flights to (LIS), the Portuguese capital commenced 2 days later, with the 2,697 km city pair being operated 2x-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays). Both routes will be flown using (WZZ)’s fleet of A320s and neither will face direct competition.
Last year Wizz Air (WZZ) operated 2.47 million seats to/from Gdansk, an upswing of +7.9%, when compared to the number of seats it offered in 2016.
February 2018: News Item A-1: Central and Eastern European low cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) reported a 3rd-quarter net profit of +€14 million/+$16.8 million, down -57% on the year-ago period, despite strong ticket and ancillary revenues as well as passenger growth.
Revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2017 was €422.9 million, up +24% year-over-year (YOY). Operating expenses climbed +25.4% (YOY) to €408.2 million, reflecting sharp rises in labor and fuel expenses (up +28.6% and +33.4%, respectively).
Wizz Air’s (WZZ) 3rd-quarter operating profit fell -5.6% (YOY) to +€14.6 million.
(WZZ) (CEO) József Váradi said passenger numbers were up +24% (YOY), to a record of 7.1 million for the quarter. Load factors increased +1.4 point to 89.4% LF; ticket revenues were up +26.1% to €241.7 million and ancillary revenues grew +21.3% (YOY) to €181.1 million.
(WZZ)’s network grew by +39 new routes during the 3rd quarter and now offers >550 routes to/from 44 countries from 28 bases. The (WZZ) fleet increased to 88 aircraft with the addition of 2 Airbus A321s; the fleet mix is now 64 A320s and 24 A321s. Average aircraft age of 4.6 years.
“Our strong performance over the 1st 9 months of the financial year and an encouraging upcoming Easter [holiday] has enabled us to increase 4th-quarter growth and deliver +25% more passengers to nearly 30 million passengers for the full financial year,” Váradi said, adding, “We also signed our largest ever aircraft order with Airbus (EDS) for an additional 146 Airbus A320 family neo aircraft [which has received shareholder approval]. We now have 256 Airbus A320 family neo aircraft on order and these ultra-efficient, next-step technology aircraft will underpin our growth plans for the next decade as we continue with our mission to be the undisputed cost leader among European airlines.”
The company’s full-year outlook for 2018 forecasts a net profit of +€265 million to +€280 million, a +1% capacity increase to 24% and a 1-point load factor increase, with stable fuel and fares.
News Item A-2: Rapidly growing (LCC) Wizz Air (WZZ) is adding a further Airbus A321 to its London Luton base, bringing the total number of aircraft based there to 8. (WZZ) now has annual capacity of 7.4 million seats from Luton, representing +23% growth year on year, (WZZ) said. From April, (WZZ) is also increasing flight frequencies from London Luton to Kiev, which will operate daily, up from 5x-weekly, and to Bucharest with 26x-weekly, up from 21x-.
March 2018: "Wizz Air (CCO): Rapid Fleet Expansion Presents Operational Challenges" by Kurt Hofmann ATW Plus March 5, 2018.
Wizz Air (WZZ) sees operations as its biggest challenge in 2018 as the Budapest-based (LCC) continues rapid growth. “We have a lot of commercial opportunities, but the biggest challenge for us is on the operational side because in 17 weeks we are taking delivery of 17 new aircraft,” (CCO) George Michalopoulos said in Vienna.
(WZZ) has increased its fleet size to 89, which includes a mix of Airbus A320s and A321s. On February 1, the average aircraft age was 4.6 years.
In November 2017, (WZZ) signed its largest-ever Airbus order for an additional 146 A320neo family aircraft, which has received shareholder approval. (WZZ) has a total of 256 of the type on order.
Michalopoulos said the A321neo is the “ultimate, ultra-efficient aircraft” for an (LCC). “We expect the 1st A321neo in January 2019.”
The A320/A321 fleet has opened many opportunities for the Central and Eastern European carrier.
“In Western Europe there is a lot of industry consolidation going on, creating opportunities for us,” Michalopoulos said.
“We are talking to many airports to expand our network. We are the 2nd-largest foreign carrier operating to Israel and we are the only [European] (LCC) to Dubai. There are no geographical limits for us.”
In addition to Europe, (WZZ) will fly to destinations in the East; the (LCC) recently launched its 1st service to Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
(WZZ) offers >600 routes from 28 bases, connecting 145 destinations across 44 countries.
(WZZ) operates its largest base in Budapest, Hungary, with 13 A320s/321s. “In Bucharest [Romania] we have 10 aircraft; in Warsaw [Poland] there are 8 based aircraft,” he said.
Wizz Air (WZZ) said last week it will expand its new base in Vienna to 5 aircraft by 2019. It will base a 1st A320 there from June.
Click below for photos:
WZZ-A320 - 2012-02
WZZ-A320 - 2012-12
WZZ-A320 SHARKLETS - 2013-04
WZZ-A320-232 - New Livery 2015-07.jpg
WZZ-A321neo - 2015-06.jpg
29 ORDERS A319/A320-200 (V2527E-A5), 180Y:
4 A319-100 (V2500).
24 +36/25 ORDERS A320ceo (V2500) (10 ORDERS CANCELED):
146 ORDERS A320neo:
1 A320-200, (ALE) LSD 2015/07.
1 A320-200 (V2500), (ILF) 7 YR LSD. 180Y.
1 A320-200, (CGP) LSD 2006-05. 180Y.
1 A320-200, WITH SHARKLETS (SEE PHOTO - - "WZZ-A320 WITH SHARKLETS - 2013-04"), 2013-04.
2 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (2571, /05 HA-LPG, (BOU) LSD; 2752, /06 HA-LPI), AVIATION CAPITAL GROUP (CGP) LSD. 2571; OPS FOR WIZZ BULGARIA (WVL) AS (LZ-WZA) 2005-12. 180Y.
1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (2688, /06 HA-LPH), (BOU) LSD 2006-02. 180Y.
20 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3127, HA-LPJ, 2007-05; 3143, HA-LPK, 2007-05; 3166, HA-LPL, 2007-06; 3177, HA-LPM, 2007-07; 3354, HA-LPN, 2008-01; 3384, HP-LPO, 2008-02; 3409, HP-LPQ, 2008-2; 3430, HA-LPR, 2008-03; 3771, HA-LPS, 2009-02; 3807, HA-LPT, 2009-02; 3877, HA-LPU, 2009-04; 3968, HA-LPX, 2009-07; 4109, HA-LPY, 2009-12; 4174, HA-LPZ, 2010-01; 4223, HA-LWA, 2010-03; 4246, HA-LWB, 2010-03; 4308, LZ-WZC, 2010-05; 5604, HA-LWR, 2013-04; 5608, HA-LWS, 2013-03; 6115, HA-LYD, 2014-06; 6131, HA-LYE, 2014-06; 6576, HA-LYO, 2015-05; 6589, HA-LYP, 2015-05; 6614, HA-LXQ, 2015-07*), 4308; WET-LST (WVL) 2010-05. *IN NEW LIVERY - SEE PHOTO. 180Y.
2 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3531, /08 UR-WUA, 2008-06; 3741, UR-WUB, 2008-12), FOR WIZZ AIR UKRAINE (WAU) OPS. 180Y.
3 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (3927, HA-LPV; 3947, HA-LPW), (GEF) 1 YR LSD 2009-06. 180Y.
1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (4323, HA-LWC), (DEA) LSD 2010-06. EX-(F-WWDT). 180Y.
1 A320-232 (V2527-A5) (5539, UR-WRC; 5660, HA-LWV), (MC) AVIATION PARTNERS LSD 2013-06. 5539; RETURNED FROM WIZZ AIR UKRAINE (WAU). 180Y.
6 A320-233 (V2527E-A5) (839, /98 HA-LPA, 2004-07; 892, /98 HA-LPC 2004-09; 1635, /01 HA-LPB; 1834, /02 HA-LPF, 2004-07; 1892, /02 HA-LPE, 2004-07; 1902, /02 HA-LPD, 2004-06), WATERMARK LEASED. 2372; 2393; NTU. 180Y.
22 +5 ORDERS A321ceo (7114, HA-LXE, 2016-05; 7316, HA-LXJ, 2016-09; 7488, HA-LXL, 2017-01; 7528, HA-LXM, 2017-02; 7532, HA-LXN, 2017-02), EX-(D-AVZH, D-AYAE, & D-AVZU). 230 PAX.
1 A321-231 (7647, HA-LXR), ex-(D-AVYI) 2017-05.
110/90 ORDERS (2019-02) A321neo:
Click below for photos:
WZZ-1-JOZSEF VARADI - 2012-12
WZZ-1-JOZSEF VARADI - 2012-12-A
WZZ-1-JOZSEF VARADI CEO
WZZ-4-Gyorgy Abran - C-2015-12.jpg
WZZ-5-DANIEL DE CARVALHO - 2013-03
WZZ-8-Sorina Ratz - 5th fron R-2017-07.jpg
WZZ-9-Tamara Mshvenieradze - 2nd L-2015-05.jpg
WILLIAM FRANKE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, EX-(AMW).
WILLIAM FRANKE, FOUNDER, MANAGING PARTNER EX-AMERICA WEST (AMW)/SPIRIT AIRLINES (SPR)/WIZZ AIR (WZZ)/VOLARIS (VLS)/JETSMART (JSM). ALSO CHAIRMAN, FRONTIER AIRLINES (FRO).
Bill Franke is the Managing Partner of Indigo Partners LLC, a private equity fund focused on air transportation investments. The fund currently has major investments in Volaris Airlines (VLS) (Mexico), Wizz Air (WZZ) (Hungary) and Frontier Airlines (FRO) (USA). During Bill’s business career he has been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a Fortune 500 forest products company, which he re-positioned strategically, tripled its revenues and achieved record profits, before merging it with another company at the industry’s highest per ton valuation; Chairman of the Executive Committee of a large regional bank whose management he restructured; (CEO) of a large USA convenience store company, which he restructured; and, from 1993 to August 2001, (CEO) of America West Airlines (AMW) (now American Airlines (AAL)), which he managed through a bankruptcy into an airline that from 1994 to 2000 had the highest (EBITDAR) margins of the major USA airlines and won 2 "J.D. Power" awards for its service. Bill was Managing Partner of Newbridge Latin America, a private equity fund focused on Latin America, which made investments in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina in a variety of businesses including retail, manufacturing and insurance. Newbridge was wound up in 2012 on sale of its last investment. Bill served as the founding Chairman of the Airplanes Group, Ltd., a US$5 billion aircraft finance vehicle created from the aircraft portfolio of the (GPA) Group plc, the Irish aircraft leasing company, and supported by (GE) Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (GEC). He was involved in the 1998 acquisition of (GPA) (then renamed AerFi Group) by Texas Pacific Group and served on AerFi’s board of directors until it was sold in 2000. Also, along with an investment group led by David Bonderman, Bill was a pre-(IPO) investor in Ryanair (RYR) and a Founder of Hotwire, the travel internet site. Bill was the Founding Chairman of Tiger Airways (TGR) (Singapore), was the Chairman of Spirit Airlines (SPR) (USA), serves as Chairman of Wizz Air Limited (WZZ) (Hungary), is a director of Volaris (VLS) (Mexico), and is the Chairman of Frontier Airlines (FRO) (USA). In addition, he has served on several public company boards of directors in a variety of industries.
Bill was born in Texas and raised in Latin America. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University, whose business college is named after him.
JOZSEF VARADI, FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), EX-(HGA).
December 2012: THE FOLLOWING IS AN "AIRLINE BUSINESS" INTERVIEW:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that every country needs air transport. However, where opinions differ strongly is on how it should be provided.
Maybe it is national pride or prejudice against low-cost carriers (LCC)s that has led to so many loss-making inefficient airlines that seem to exist only to serve government interests.
As one would expect, József Váradi, Chairman & (CEO) of Hungarian carrier Wizz Air (WZZ), is in favor of a liberalized environment in which airlines can compete freely. “Every country wants to have an airline, which might have been the right strategy 20 years ago, but I do not believe it is the case any longer,” he said.
Váradi does not agree a national airline is necessary to create infrastructure or boost a country’s economy. He argued that in many cases a country’s commercial aviation needs can be provided by what he calls “de facto, quasi national airlines like (WZZ)”.
Citing Macedonia as an example, he added: “They had a national airline [Macedonian Airlines] that went down. I think we created a market by entering with significant capacity and, if you look at the traffic we are generating, it is more than they did before.”
Váradi believes (WZZ) provides greater benefit to the countries it serves than “inefficient legacy carriers.” In Budapest, he said (WZZ) will soon be carrying more than >2 million passengers “and all of those are point-to-point, so they really use the structure of Hungary.” Comparing this with former Hungarian flag carrier, Malev (HGA), he said: “If you look at them, half of the 3.1 million [passengers] used to be connecting traffic. Their passengers were just touching and going. They spent no money in Budapest, didn’t use the tourism sector or any infrastructure, and didn’t spend money in hotels and restaurants, so you can argue that we are already larger than (HGA) in terms of serving the Hungarian market.”
When it comes to discussing (HGA), Váradi knows what he is talking about, having been its (CEO) for 2 years. Despite bringing a degree of stability to the troubled airline, he was forced out by the Hungarian government during the fallout over an auditing dispute in March 2003. In the months following his departure, Váradi was putting the building blocks in place to get (WZZ) off the ground.
(HGA) lost its fight for survival in February, after the European Commission (EC) ruled it would have to pay back the near Ft100 billion/$457 million it received from the Hungarian government between 2007 and 2010.
* HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF
Váradi believes its demise is a portent for what will unfold elsewhere. “Malev (HGA) is a visible example of what is in front of the industry. Certainly, I would not consider it as a unique case and think there is more to come in the future.”
He thinks the end of loss-making state carriers propped up by governments is inevitable. “Obviously, when you are a government and you have certain other interests than just financial performance, your tolerance to inefficiency might be totally different to mine."
“It’s just down to the will of a state or government to what extent those airlines will be supported and in what ways. No matter how much the European Union (EU) prohibits financial aid, governments are creative enough to find ways of somehow bailing out their airlines.
“But economic rational gain is going to stop that process at some point; it’s just unpredictable when that will happen.”
While acknowledging that governments are likely to be wary of (LCC)s, given the reputation of some to cut capacity or abandon airports altogether at short notice, Váradi said his carrier is different.
As an example, he used Wizz (WZZ) replacing Malev (HGA)’s traffic into Budapest: “We are committed to Hungary." We have always declared that and consider ourselves the home-town airline; we have made significant investments into the market.”
Economic realities mean “the ultimate measure needs to be profitability when it comes to routes,” he said, and airlines must “match supply with demand.”
Váradi made no bones about how (WZZ), like any other airline in a seasonal industry, rationalizes its capacity during weaker periods. “We have always been doing this. The magnitude of the rationalization depends on a number of factors. Most importantly, it depends on the input costs of the business.
“An airline’s sensitivity to excess capacity is very different when oil is trading at $110 a barrel rather than $30 a barrel,” he said.
* HOME-TOWN CARRIER
Despite being geared towards profit, Váradi said (WZZ) is better positioned than any national airline to make a long-term success out of a route. “My view is that if I can’t make financial sense out of a route with the cost base I have, and the efficiency I can create, no-one else is going to make it.”
Reiterating (WZZ)’s dedication to its 16 bases in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine, he said: “(WZZ) tries to be the home-town airline of our markets. In Poland, we employ Polish cabin crew (CA) and pilots (FC). In Hungary, we employ Hungarians; in Romania, we employ Romanians.” He said this has advantages, especially in the perception of passengers. “The crew speak their own language and so the passengers can associate themselves with us.”
Váradi felt this approach differentiates (WZZ) from some of its European competitors but, overall, he said it is similar to what he describes as other “ultra-low-cost carriers.” He explained: “We are seeing two sub-categories of low-cost carriers. We call one of them (ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCC)s) and we define ourselves in that category. Then there are the lazy low-cost carriers (LLCC)s that are doing everything but remaining focused on cost.”
He said that while all new-generation airlines have “started off from the same platform,” many have lost their original focus and “started diverting from the basic fundamentals of being really low cost.”
Váradi views any meddling with the principles of low-cost as a mistake. “I think history is telling us the more focused you are on cost, the better your financial performance will become.” He warned it may be tempting for an airline to try to “appeal to customers that today choose legacy full-service carriers but over time the competitive landscape may change and your competitor might become a more efficient, more effective airline when it comes to cost management and you may have a hard time.”
Similarly, the expansion of some of the main European legacy carriers’ low-cost divisions does not concern Váradi, who feels airlines such as Germanwings (RFG) or Transavia (TAV), for example, present no strategic risk to (WZZ).
“I understand why they are doing it, they predominantly want to address their own problems such as union issues and those sort of matters,” he said. While efficiencies may be achieved in comparison with legacy airline operations, Váradi said they are “not creating efficiencies versus the real players on the market.”
He also observed: “Every single one of those initiatives started so far has failed. Whether they were in Europe or North America, but I wish them good luck this time.”
* PLAYING BY THE RULES
Having seen off a number of legacy and low-cost rivals, Váradi believes that to survive competition from those that may follow, it is best not to tamper with a winning formula.
Amid the costs associated with Global Distribution Systems (GDS)s, he sees no need to start selling tickets this way. “In every single market . . . we are told ‘this country is different (there is no access to the Internet, no credit cards, your distribution strategy is going to fail). We have been winning over every market with the same approach of only selling through the internet.”
Váradi is also against using allocated seating on his airline on the grounds of maintaining operational efficiency. “It’s something that sounds good from a customer perspective but you are creating pressure pre-boarding. Customers might not be coming to the gate on time and you might need to keep waiting for them.”
While stating that (WZZ) is a private airline that does not disclose measures such as revenues per (ASK), Váradi explained just how “low cost” (WZZ) actually is: “What I can tell you is we tend to be around -25 to -40% lower cost on a per-seat basis than the (LCC) carriers, as we define them, and we are certainly in the ball park of Ryanair (RYR).”
The fruits of his strategy are clear, as in less than nine years its fleet has grown to 39 A320s, including the two airplanes operated by (Wzz)’s Ukrainian operation. Váradi said that even in the current economic climate, (WZZ)’s growth rate is “still double digit, which is fairly unique in Europe”.
He also dismissed media suggestions that (WZZ) is unprofitable: “That is untrue . . . last year [ending March 31, 2012] was our most profitable year: we made more than >+€40 million/+$52 million of net profit,” he said.
Váradi said (WZZ) will keep looking for new expansion opportunities and, like other European low-cost airlines, it is looking east.
* PUSHING BOUNDARIES
(WZZ) has recently begun stretching its boundaries from its initial route network within the (EU). Váradi said this was not necessarily an “issue of desire,” simply what (WZZ) could do “in certain cases.” Citing the manner in which (WZZ) has had to approach different markets, he said: “When you take the market outside the (EU), like to Ukraine, there’s a reason why we had to come up with an airline. You are subject to the bilateral regime the country has in place with other countries.”
Yet, he said that after establishing itself, new doors are opening: “Given that we have become an increasingly mature business (and we have proven ourselves in various markets) we have started accessing other markets and routes that were unavailable to us before. On that basis, we have opened up flights from Ukraine to Georgia; that’s how far east we are flying at the moment. Recently, we received designations from the Hungarian government to fly to Tel Aviv. Also, we received bilateral designations from Hungary to Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. That process is ongoing but it is very slow. It is not like acting within the (EU) . . . there is a process you need to go through.”
He said many countries on Europe’s eastern periphery still apply a “fairly closed” regulatory regime. Yet, he added, regimes are changing and the (EU) has been initiating certain concepts such as "Open Skies."
Even if (WZZ) is granted access to certain markets, Váradi said it would not rush in. “If you can access a market but have constraints that could jeopardize your efficiencies, which could fundamentally undermine your business model, this is not something we want. We need to wait for changes to be able to implement what we have,” he said.
As well as Russia, he said central Asia is becoming “increasingly exotic, especially looking at it from here [eastern Europe].” Váradi views Georgia as a potential stepping stone to the region, but describes expansion there as a medium-term priority.
For all its devotion to low-cost strategy, Váradi is the 1st to acknowledge the role played by chance in the success of (WZZ). “We started flying in May 2004 . . . the same month as the (EU) was enlarged by +10 more countries. “That created a genuine market opportunity and I don’t think (WZZ) could have been done before that and I don’t think (WZZ) could have been done after that, just for the sheer fact that after then, the whole market would have been occupied. So I think it was the right time at the right place.”
* AIR BATTLE
While József Váradi joked he needs to “remind himself of as it was so long ago” that his airline was engaged in a struggle with SkyEurope Airlines (SKP) to control eastern Europe’s budget sector, he said an inability to stick to its knitting was why (SKP) lost out to (WZZ).
“(SKP) had a huge presence in Hungary and Poland, then, overnight, they cut their entire operations there, and moved everything into Prague and Vienna. One day they defined themselves as an ultra-low-cost carrier (LCC), another, they became the business airline of central and eastern Europe.
”In comparison, he said (WZZ) has always been focused on what it wanted to achieve. “We wanted to be very streamlined in the business model so we were not wandering. We were clear from day one which business model we wanted to implement.
* WIZZ KID
The relocation in April 2010 of (WZZ)’s corporate headquarters to Geneva from Budapest, where its operational headquarters remain, has been ideal for József Váradi to indulge in his passion for skiing. He has no favorite destination among the wealth of top quality resorts around Geneva, opting to ski wherever it is convenient.
He plays as much sport as his work and family life allow, which includes tennis and golf, while he is also a keen spectator. “Like a good European citizen, I like soccer. I follow the large leagues like the UK Premiership and the Spanish league. I try and make it from time to time to be a spectator of those or the European Champions League.
”He does not fraternize with fellow (CEO), Michael O’Leary, but would not be averse to watching a sports match together. However, since both men head companies where cost savings are fundamental to their philosophy, Váradi envisages there might be problems over who would pick up the bill for the tickets. “Both of us would need to be invited,” he said.
While he rigidly applies low-cost principles in the same manner, Váradi said he would not go as far as his counterpart in terms of publicity stunts. Speaking about O’Leary’s threats to start charging passengers for using the toilet, he said: “I think it’s a great speech, but I think it’s meaningless.
”(WZZ) was the recipient of a large amount of unconventional publicity itself after the UK’s Prince Harry was rumored in the European media to have flown to Romania with the budget airline over Easter 2012."
GEORGE MICHALOPOULOS, CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER (CCO) (2016-09).
George has been Head of Network Development, Scheduling & Sales since May 2015. He has been with (WZZ) since 2010, when he joined (WZZ) as Head of Pricing & Revenue Management. He previously worked in commercial functions at Swiss regional airline FlyBaboo and Blu-Express.
Váradi said Michalopoulos had been internally promoted after delivering “outstanding results” for his department. In his new role, George will report directly to Váradi. He is replacing György Abrán, who was to leave in September after 12 years with (WZZ).
CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO), EX-(JBL) (2005-12), RESIGNED FROM (FRO) (2009-10).
Hometown: Rochester, New York (NY).
First Job: Bagging groceries.
Favorite Childhood Toy: Lincoln logs.
Favorite Nighttime Reading: Reading? Ha! It’s called sleep, I have two little kids.
Favorite Sport to Watch: Hockey.
Favorite Sport to Do: Fishing and baseball.
Favorite Snack: Ice cream.
Window or Aisle? Window.
Motto/Words to Live By: Take care of your people.
MS SONIA JEREZ BURDEUS, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO), EX-(VUZ) (2016-06).
Wizz Air (WZZ) appointed former Vueling (VUZ) (CFO), Sonia Jerez Burdeus as its (CFO), effective June 1. She was also a member of the founding management team of Clickair S A and was (CFO) from 2006 to 2008, when Clickair S A merged with Vueling (VUZ).
CAPTAIN DAVID MORGAN, CHIEF PILOT.
LAJOS FARKAS, VP REVENUE MANAGEMENT/NETWORK DEVELOPMENT.
DANIEL DE CARVALHO, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR.
GABOR VASARHELYI, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER.
MS LILLA VAJDA, SALES MANAGER CHARTERS & ALLOTMENTS (2014-10).
Lilla will share responsibility for managing relations with the travel and tourism sector.
MS SORINA RATZ, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER.