Wizz Air might soon start scheduled services to China, operating from Budapest to Beijing with a stopover in Nur-Sultan, the capital city of Kazakhstan. The launch of these flights would come after Wizz Air resumes flying to Kazakhstan from Hungary this June. However, a bilateral agreement that enables this would need to be signed first.
From Hungary to China via Kazakhstan
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, stated in a press briefing in Kazakhstan yesterday that Wizz Air would resume flights between Budapest and Nur-Sultan in June. Following this, he immediately said there would also be a launch of flights from Budapest to Nur-Sultan and onward to Beijing, indicating with a strong hint that Wizz Air might soon be flying scheduled services to China.
In the briefing, Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian Minister, said:
“The direct air communication between the capital cities – Budapest and Nur-Sultan – will be restored this June. The Budapest-Nur-Sultan-Beijing flight will be launched as well.”
If this indeed happens, the flights would operate in the Budapest-Nur-Sultan-Beijing-Nur-Sultan-Budapest formation with Wizz Air’s Airbus A320 family aircraft. The single stopover in Kazakhstan is a standard way for narrow-body aircraft flying from Europe to China to complete their journey. FlyBosnia, for example, flew its A319 aircraft between Sarajevo and Beijing with a stopover in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda last year.
There are currently no direct passenger flights on sale between China and Kazakhstan’s most populous cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty. There are also no passenger flights between Hungary and Kazakhstan at the moment, but Wizz Air intends to resume its existing Budapest-Nur-Sultan route on 5th June with A320 aircraft. Our data from RadarBox.com indicates that Wizz Air last flew between Budapest and Nur-Sultan (Astana) on 3rd September 2020.
Bilateral agreement needed
It would not be entirely surprising if Wizz Air did choose to launch flights from Budapest to Beijing, just as it would not be surprising if it used Kazakhstan as a stopover country to make the route possible. However, there is one major stumbling block to the realization of this plan: a bilateral agreement would have to be in place that enables a third-country airline like Wizz Air to operate flights between Kazakhstan and China.
Direct passenger flights between Beijing and Budapest are currently not operating. There are no flights on sale between China and Hungary in the future either.
Shanghai Airlines used to fly from Shanghai to Budapest, but the airline suspended this service on 10th February 2020. Hainan Airlines suspended its own flights to Budapest from Chongqing in February too. Air China was the last to suspend flights. It did so in March 2020, when it last operated its three-weekly year-round service between Budapest and Beijing.
Wizz Air keeps expanding outside Europe
Wizz Air continues to expand beyond its European market. In a statement yesterday, the airline announced that its Middle Eastern subsidiary, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, would be launching direct flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) in May.
Wizz Air plans to initially offer three flights per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays with fares starting at just Dh99 ($26.95) one way. The announcement came the same day that Etihad operated its own historic flight from Israel to Abu Dhabi.
What do you think of this story? Do you think Wizz Air will indeed be launching flights from Budapest to Beijing with a stopover in Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.