Watching the low-fare aviation wars currently taking place over the skies of Europe, you would be amiss to ignore the expansion of Hungarian contender Wizz Air.
They fly to 139 destinations, based out of the hubs of London Luton, Budapest and Krakow’s sister city Katowice. Unlike rivals EasyJet and Ryanair, Wizz Air does not just focus on the big destinations such as Paris or Madrid, but services a variety of small airports in cities this author would have trouble pronouncing like Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (Switzerland) or Ljubljana (Slovenia). Plus, they don’t just do short-haul in Europe either, flying to Israel, Dubai, Azerbaijan and Africa.
This author has actually flown Wizz Air a few times and apart from having incredibly fetching flight attendants (Eastern European genetics does wonders) they provide an easy, cheap, although spartan service. Previously you did have to pay for every bit of luggage, including hand luggage but since then they have revised their offers to include one hand carry on.
Their fares are so cheap that they actually undercut both Easy Jet and Ryanair (They have sold flights on routes such as London to Katowice for 10 Euros ($11 USD, or two coffees for those caffeine addicts out there), which understanding their target market makes economic sense (They fly to some of the cheaper destinations in Europe, whom may not be able to afford other airlines).
Wizz Air has traditionally focused on flying routes between the Western side of Europe, to the Eastern side of Europe, but that all may change as they take EasyJet and Ryanair head on!
Future Plans To Become Europe’s Biggest Airline
If we are going to measure airline size by the number of planes in their fleet, then Wizz Air’s fleet expansion plans make them low hanging fruit. The currently have an all Airbus fleet of 104 planes (72 Airbus A320-200s and 32 A321-200s) but have on order…(deep breath)… 72 A320neos, 9 A321-200s and an amazing 184 Airbus A321neos, worth $17.2 Billion USD. They will eventually have a swarm (by the end of 2026) of 369 planes.
“We are convinced that the Airbus A320neo and A321neo will be game-changer aircraft for Wizz Air, as we continue to grow at an industry-leading rate and expand our market reach across and beyond Europe” – Chief executive József Váradi
To operate this western expansion, they will be creating a new sub-airline (Same livery, but a different certificate, operations and fly out of the hub of London Luton) with the airline code W9.
This hub will service routes deep into western Europe, to destinations in Norway, Spain and more. This is a game changer as normally flying to a northern Norway city outside Oslo is generally quite expensive!
They will be expanding with a new hub in Vienna (Under their current Airline code W6) and flying to the following planned destinations:
- Bergen (Norway)
- Billund (Denmark)
- Catania (Italy)
- Dortmund (Germany)
- Larnaca (Cyprus)
- Lisbon (Portagul)
- Madrid (Spain)
- Malmo (Italy)
- Milan Malpensa (Italy)
- Nice (France)
- Rekjavik (Iceland)
- Stockholm Skavsta (Sweden)
- Tenerife South (Spain, Canary Islands)
- Thessaloniki (Greece)
Who knows what the future holds as they expand further west and take more of Ryanair and EasyJets low-fare pie.
“…we drive towards our goal of Wizz Air being the lowest fare and lowest unit cost airline in Europe.” Chief executive József Váradi