Recovery Season: Inside Wizz Air UK’s Base Reopening Strategy

The United Kingdom has always been an essential market for Wizz Air. The company’s first flight was from Katowice in Poland to London Luton in 2004. Since then, the relationship between the airline and the country has been growing significantly, with the UK being one of the carrier’s major focus points, even before the launch of Wizz Air UK.

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Wizz Air is excited about this next chapter in aviation. Photo: Wizz Air

Rapid expansion

Following these strong developments, there was a halt in growth during the first quarter of 2020 due to the global health crisis. Operations were put on hold, but the ambitions didn’t stop.

Several sites have opened over the last year and a half. Doncaster Sheffield saw the second Wizz Air UK base open in August 2020, adding an Airbus A320 to the South Yorkshire airport. The airline also went on to open a base at London Gatwick and a fourth one at Cardiff Airport, covering great ground across the UK.

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The airline is only getting started. Photo: Wizz Air

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Adapting to the market

Despite these launches, Wizz was forced to scale back amid the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. However, the company is now on a mission to take advantage of the current momentum shift now that travel is heading in the right direction. There is a series of base reopenings occurring. With this progress, Simple Flying caught up with Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, to talk about her firm’s services.

“We started with the Luton base before opening Gatwick and Doncaster Sheffield, which had to be suspended due to restrictions and lower demand last year. We are happy that we could reopen Doncaster Sheffield at the end of July, and we will be reopening the Gatwick base in mid-December to be able to be ready for the peak season there. There is more to come with Cardiff, where the opening had to be deferred to next summer. We’ll actually start operations there in the spring of 2022,” Geoffroy told Simple Flying.

“We have a fleet of 14 aircraft and we want to grow that fleet by 20% year on year. The group’s ambition is to be operating 500 aircraft by the end of the decade and the UK is an important element of this strategy. So, we’ll grow in the country as much as we can. It’s not always as much as we want because there are some constraints that we face when it comes to slots. Nonetheless, we hope that the ‘can’ will be as significant as the ‘want,’ and we will do our best.”

Wizz Air
Wizz has seen significant expansion across Europe and beyond. Photo: Wizz Air

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Exciting prospects

With the UK travel scene seeing more activity recently, Wizz Air UK has been quick to get in on the action. This summer, it announced the launch of its first domestic service in the UK. This month, it also restarted flights to Tel Aviv from London Luton.

Luton is the headquarters of Wizz Air UK. Most of the airline’s aircraft are spotted there. Geoffroy notes that this base fits fantastically with her company’s product. She looks forward to additional advances next year, such as the opening of the Luton DART, an automated shuttle that will connect Luton Airport Parkway station and the airport’s terminal. This introduction will offer a smoother experience for those heading to and from the airport.

Wizz has praise for its bases across the nation. For instance, it appreciations the efficiency of Doncaster Sheffield. Geoffroy highlights that local communities love the airline’s product there because “they can fly from home to fantastic destinations.”

Overall, Wizz Air UK’s bookings are rising heading into the winter. They are also looking strong for next summer. So, even though Wizz hasn’t been able to fully utilize its new bases, it has completed the groundwork to handle a promising recovery period ahead.

What are your thoughts about Wizz Air’s expansions within the UK? Are you looking to fly with the airline soon? Let us know what you think of the carrier and its progress in the comment section.

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