Wizz Air Reveals London Gatwick Slot Plans With 13 New Routes

Wizz Air has revealed 13 new routes from Gatwick. As some will use non-based aircraft and despite various existing services seeing higher frequencies, there are gaps in aircraft allocation. Expect more announcements soon. One consequence of this Gatwick development is that eight Luton routes will end.

Wizz Air A321neo
Wizz Air will have five 239-seat A321neos at Gatwick next summer. Photo: Marvin Mutz via Wikimedia.

What’s happening?

Fourteen months after opening Gatwick as a base with one aircraft, Wizz Air will grow strongly at the airport. Following its acquisition of 15 daily slot pairs from Norwegian, the ULCC will have five A321neos stationed at Gatwick this summer, ending its regular dismay that it could not obtain slots there.

It’ll use some of these additional slots to launch 13 new routes. Beginning on March 27th will be Faro, Palma, Rome, Tel Aviv, and Vienna. Some new links will not use Gatwick-based aircraft, such as Bari, Milan, Rome, and Vienna, freeing up equipment – subject to slots – for additional routes.

  1. Bari (BRI): starting March 29th, twice-weekly
  2. Catania (CTA): April 8th, three-weekly
  3. Chania (CHQ): April 7th, seven-weekly
  4. Faro (FAO): March 27th, seven-weekly
  5. Funchal (FNC): March 28th, twice-weekly
  6. Larnaca (LCA): April 11th, seven-weekly
  7. Milan Malpensa (MXP): seven-weekly
  8. Mykonos (JMK): April 12th, four-weekly
  9. Palma (PMI): March 27th, seven-weekly
  10. Podgorica (TGD): April 7th, four-weekly
  11. Rome Fiumicino (FCO): March 27th, seven-weekly
  12. Tel Aviv (TLV): March 27th, seven-weekly
  13. Vienna (VIE): March 27th, seven-weekly
Wizz Air's new Gatwick routes
All of these will begin in the early summer season. Image: GCMap.

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They don’t always have ‘great’ times

The slots that Wizz Air now has do not always translate into ‘normal’ schedules, but it has to use them somehow. It also has to consider slot availability at the other end, especially problematic at very summer-seasonal destinations like Greek islands. Scheduling is normally like completing a puzzle.

Chania (1,619 miles, 2,606km away) and Mykonos (1,568 miles, 2,523km) stand out. Depending on the day, they have the following timings. It’ll be good to see the impact on yields, especially given more normal timings with easyJet and others.

  • Gatwick-Chania: 22:05-04:00+1 the next morning
  • Chania-Gatwick: 05:00-07:05
  • Gatwick-Mykonos: 22:15-04:05+1 the next morning
  • Mykonos-Gatwick: 05:05-07:00
Wizz Air A321neo
It is always good to see how aircraft are scheduled based on slot availability while ensuring robust aircraft and crew productivity. Photo: Getty Images.

Competition on almost all routes

Next summer, 10 of Wizz Air’s 13 new routes will have head-to-head competition, sometimes with three or more carriers, although typically with easyJet and British Airways’ new lower-cost unit, EuroFlyer. BA’s new unit will have additional price-based competition but from an even lower-cost operator. Wizz Air and EuroFlyer will often have a similar number of flights per route per week, OAG data indicates.

Podgorica, Tel Aviv, and Vienna will have no direct competition. Podgorica was last served in 2019, Tel Aviv is winter-only by easyJet, and Vienna remains fascinating. First served from Gatwick in 2009, Vienna has had a chequered history at the airport, with up to 402,000 round-trip seats in the peak year (2018). Aer Lingus, BA, easyJet, and Level have all operated it.

Wizz Air's London development
In 2019, London was responsible for one in five of Wizz Air’s total seats. With Gatwick’s five-aircraft base, 2022 should be a record year. Source of data: OAG.

Eight Luton routes have been cut

The launch of these Gatwick routes means that some destinations from Luton – most introduced recently – have been removed, as shown below. They include several to Italy; no wonder they recently had tickets at €1.99 including taxes. Other routes – Larnaca, Palma, Tel Aviv – will operate from both airports, suggesting sufficiently strong performance to be served from two London airports.

  1. Athens
  2. Bari
  3. Catania
  4. Faro
  5. Milan Malpensa
  6. Naples
  7. Rome Fiumicino
  8. Vienna

It’ll be interesting to see how Wizz Air uses its freed-up Luton slots. Sarajevo and Casablanca are coming, with two and three weekly flights respectively. Others routes are likely.

What do you make of this development? Where would you like Wizz Air to fly from Gatwick? Let us know in the comments.