Wizz Air Takes A Bite Out Of Ryanair In Armenia

Wizz Air has announced its first flights out of Armenia, expected to be scheduled in June 2020. This news comes just weeks after Ryanair announced its own entry into the Armenian market. The proximity of these two announcements is not a coincidence.

Wizz Air logo
Wizz Air is coming to Armenia to follow Ryanair. Photo: Getty Images

Ryanair was unusually quick to arrive

Ryanair will begin flying out of Armenia in January 2020, as it announced in October this year. Interestingly, the time between when Ryanair announced its new flights and the date when the first flight will actually take place is unusually short for Ryanair.

This was especially curious given that Ryanair does not have spare capacity at the moment. As a result of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX, Ryanair has many fewer aircraft than it had anticipated starting 2020 with.

And yet, Ryanair is still launching new routes out of Armenia at such short notice. This signifies a particular interest in the Armenian market by Ryanair.

In comparison, Ryanair announced its new routes out of Croatia more than six months in advance. A total of 15 new routes will be launched to Croatia from May 2020, and all have already been scheduled.

Wizz Air Takes A Bite Out Of Ryanair In Armenia
Ryanair launched two routes out of Armenia at short notice. Photo: Tom Boon, Simple Flying

Wizz Air follows suit

Just like Ryanair, Wizz Air is entering the Armenian market with two routes. It is typical of both carriers to enter new and unfamiliar markets in such a manner, before then launching numerous new routes if the first two test routes prove successful.

Ryanair has chosen Milan Bergamo and Rome Ciampino in Italy as its first two Armenian routes. Both are fairly safe options for Ryanair, which boasts a significant presence at both airports.

Bergamo is heavily dominated by Ryanair while Ciampino is almost entirely a Ryanair airport. They are the low-cost alternative airport to their counterparts; Milan Malpensa and Rome Fiumicino. Ryanair is clearly playing it relatively safe with its test routes to Armenia.

Meanwhile, Wizz Air will be flying to Yerevan out Vilnius in Lithuania and Vienna in Austria. Flights are yet to be scheduled, but have been announced for June 2020.

Vilnius to London City PSO
Wizz Air does not want to allow Ryanair dominance on the Armenian market and is stepping in to halt its competitor’s expansion. Photo: Lithuanian Airports

Why Armenia?

In a statement to Reuters, the chair of the Civil Aviation Committee of Armenia Tatevik Revazian explained why these two low-cost airlines are arriving so suddenly.

Revazian stated that Armenia has “put a great effort into decreasing costs for airlines”. This also comes at a time when a new startup has emerged in the country: Armenia Airways.

This is not an unusual move for countries to take to attract air traffic. Simple Flying previously analyzed the benefits to countries of tourism boards cooperating with airports and airlines to support the growth of air traffic, which benefits the airline and the airport through increased passenger flows, and the country through economic growth.

Do you think Ryanair will withstand the challenge of Wizz Air following it in Armenia and launch more new routes soon? Let us know in the comments below.