How Things Change: Italy Is Now Wizz Air’s Top Country

Few other airlines have been in the limelight in the past year quite like Wizz Air. As September approaches, it has over 800 routes, nearly four million seats, the A321 is its most-used type if both ceo and neo are combined, and Italy is now its number-one country.

Wizz Air A321
This 230-seat A321ceo was delivered to Wizz Air in March 2016. On the morning this article was written, it is being turned around in Tel Aviv before its return flight to Budapest. Photo: TramBusAi via Wikimedia.

Big development, but…

In the past year, ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air has added hundreds of routes, receives dozens of new aircraft, added multiple new bases and airports to its network, inaugurated its Abu Dhabi unit, and focused more than ever on flying within Western Europe. Not all things have worked – it isn’t really expected to – notably its Norway experiment.

In September, the Wizz Air Group – Hungary, UK, and UAE – has approximately 3.8 million seats available for sale, OAG data indicates, or about 95% of what it had in the same month in 2019. It has over 830 routes, up by 20%. More than 350 routes have been introduced versus September 2019, but more than 200 have been cut. Some will return later this year or in 2022.

Wizz Air
Of the three units in the Group, the original Wizz Air Hungary remains paramount. It has more than nine in ten seats (91%), followed by UK (8%) and the UAE (1%). Photo: Getty Images.

The A320 is #1, but the A321 was grown well

The Group’s average number of seats per flight in September is 208, obviously helped by the A321 – both the ceo and neo – now having over half (56%) of all seats. This means Wizz Air’s capacity per flight is one-tenth higher than Ryanair, although it has more seats to fill. Along with high productivity, this helps to reduce seat-mile cost, crucial for low fares. And it goes to the heart of its ‘yield passive, load factor active‘ approach.

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Despite COVID, the A321ceo/neo is now more used than in 2019, with seats by the large narrowbody up by 21%, entirely from more neos. The A321 is used right across its network, including on very thin routes, with the rationale that it’ll enable lower fares to stimulate more demand to drive more passengers per sector. Nonetheless, the A320ceo remains the most used.

  • A320ceo: 40% of the Group’s September seats
  • A321ceo: 28%
  • A321neo: 28%
  • A320neo: 4%
Wizz A321
The A321ceo/neo has over half of the Group’s September seats. Photo: Getty Images.

Luton is Wizz Air’s top airport

Luton has been Wizz Air’s top airport for many years, and it remains so in September. It is now one of four UK bases for Group, along with Cardiff, Doncaster, and Gatwick. All opened after COVID began. Wizz Air has 55 routes from Luton, including 16 across Western Europe.

Notice Dortmund, which serves North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, an area with around 18 million people. This airport has always been significant for the Group and an alternative for Düsseldorf. It became a base in June 2020 with three aircraft and a raft of routes to Greece, Italy, Portugal, and beyond. However, the base will close in October, although its large number of services from bases across Central and Eastern European will continue.

  1. Luton
  2. Bucharest
  3. Budapest
  4. Milan Malpensa
  5. Warsaw Chopin
  6. Tirana
  7. Vienna
  8. Sofia
  9. Gdansk
  10. Dortmund
Wizz Air A320
Luton, where this photo was taken, is Wizz Air’s largest airport. In September, the airport features seven times in the carrier’s top-10 route list. In order of seats, the 10 are: Luton-Bucharest; Luton-Budapest; Malpensa-Catania; Luton-Sofia; Luton-Warsaw; Luton-Tirana; Malpensa-Tirana; Malpensa-Palermo; Luton-Cluj Napoca; and Luton-Iasi. Photo: James via Flickr.

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Italy is now Wizz Air’s #1 country

Suggestive of the huge growth to, from, and within Italy recently, and dampened demand elsewhere, Milan Malpensa is now the Group’s fourth-largest airport. It has five aircraft there and is now one of six bases dotted around the country, with Naples joining earlier this summer.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Italy is the Group’s number-one country this September, surpassing Romania, with Italy’s capacity more than doubling versus 2019.

Have you flown the ULCC this year? Let us know in the comments.