Soon To Have 7 Bases: Wizz Air Is Now Italy’s Third Largest Airline

Hungarian ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air is known for its constantly expanding network, with operating bases all over Europe. It has continued to implement this expansion strategy even amid the challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and will open a seventh Italian base next year. This expansion has seen it grow to become the country’s third-largest airline.

Wizz Air Getty
Venice will be Wizz Air’s seventh Italian base. Photo: Getty Images

The Italian job

Wizz Air‘s love affair with Italy is a well-documented matter. The Hungarian ultra-low-cost carrier’s presence in the country has been the subject of several Simple Flying articles this year. The topic became particularly relevant when it was revealed in August that Italy would be Wizz Air’s number one country in September, with 800 routes and four million seats.

The airline is fast approaching two decades of service to Italy, which began 17 years ago in 2004. As Simple Flying reported in July, it has carried an impressive 40 million passengers to and from the country during this time. At present, it has operating bases located in six Italian cities. The most recent of these to be opened was Naples, with 26 routes served.

Wizz Air‘s remaining five Italian operating bases are Bari, Catania, Milan Malpensa, Palermo, and Rome Fiumicino. It serves domestic and international destinations from these cities on both a year-round and seasonal basis. Now, it is planning to open a seventh Italian base.

Wizz Air
Wizz Air’s network from certain Italian airports stretches as far as Abu Dhabi. Photo: Getty Images

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Base number seven incoming

Less than a year after opening its sixth Italian base in Naples, Wizz Air is already making plans to add a seventh. This will open in Venice in Spring 2022, serving destinations in Europe and North Africa. This growth has seen Wizz Air reach the podium in terms of airlines in Italy. Speaking at the World Aviation Festival, its President, Robert Carey, explained:

We made a big bet on Italy. We’re now the third largest airline in Italy, and very happy with the results we’re seeing over there. We’re adding Venice in March, and that will give us a really full footprint across the seven core airports.”

Venice Airport
The Venice base will grow Wizz’s coverage in northeast Italy. Photo: Rui Sousa via Wikimedia Commons

Resilience in Central and Eastern Europe

Another market in which Wizz Air has also come across welcome resilience in these challenging times is that of Central and Eastern Europe. This is, of course, the airline’s home region, and it profits from a steady flow of both business and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) passengers. Regarding demand on Wizz Air’s network here, Carey explained that:

It’s actually come back relatively quickly in Central and Eastern Europe. So it’s getting back to traveling again, and seeing those core markets get back to where they were.”

In terms of passengers who would be flying regardless of the pandemic, he added:

The Central and Eastern Europe market is really pretty resilient overall. The core of our business, so 65% of it, is worker traffic or VFR traffic. And those people need to travel, with or without the pandemic.”

What do you make of Wizz Air’s considerable Italian footprint? Have you ever flown there with the Hungarian ultra-low-cost carrier? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.