Wizz Air first flew to Italy in the same year that it commenced operations – 2004. Since then, the low-cost carrier has transported over 40 million people to and from the nation. In an exclusive webinar interview with Simple Flying, Chief Commercial Officer of the Wizz Air Group, George Michalopoulos, spoke about the momentum of services to the country amid this impressive achievement.
The company has a strong presence all across the country and isn’t slowing down its coverage. Last summer, the carrier announced that it was basing five Airbus A321s at Milan Malpensa with the establishment of a new base there. It was also eyeing a huge Italy-Albania expansion before the pandemic.
Additionally, last month, Wizz announced a significant expansion out of Naples, marking its sixth base in Italy. The carrier will serve 26 destinations from the popular site amid the launch of 18 new routes.
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Wizz isn’t the only European low-cost carrier that has been ramping up its presence in Italy. Ryanair has been doubling down on its expansion in the country, including the basing of three extra planes at Rome Fiumicino.
Moreover, the announcement of a new base in Turin gives the Irish operator its 16th base in the Mediterranean country. The carrier loves serving Italy so much that it is even not afraid to take legal action amid the ongoing cash injections into the country’s national industry from the government.
The love is mutual
Wizz recognizes the transition in Italy amid the ongoing financial and operational difficulties of Alitalia. The flag carrier of Italy has been under Extraordinary Administration for four years and has been under government control since March 2020.
Now, the airline is going through a transformation amid the introduction of a new brand in the form of ITA. Notably, this outfit will be streamlined, focusing on profitable long-haul routes.
Overall, the combination of the positive reception that Wizz has been getting in Italy along with the overhaul in Italian commercial aviation is doing wonders for the airline’s operations. Nonetheless, the carrier’s legacy also has a part to play.
“We’ve been operating to Italy since 2004. It has always been an important market for Wizz. It has always been very receptive to the Wizz product and our low fares. We’ve always been well received in this market. The other important element is that it is arguably the only European country where the flag carrier is scaling down,” Michalopoulos told Simple Flying.
“I think the European Commission has taken a different stance. Vis-à-vis the flight carrier of Italy versus other airlines. Also, because of the situation of the airline pre-pandemic. So, there is a real scale down, and that also creates an opportunity.”
The momentum continues
Overall, Wizz has come a long way since launching its first flights in Italy nearly two decades ago. It’s now a low-cost powerhouse across the skies that keeps on growing. With Italy still being the tourism hotspot that it has always been, the carrier shouldn’t have a problem filling its millions of departure seats on sale this summer.
What are your thoughts about Wizz Air’s views on Italy? Are you looking to fly with the carrier to the country this year? Let us know what you think of the airline’s plans in the comment section.