Wizz Air and Ryanair’s growth in Italy continues, with both ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) announcing a brand-new base at Venice Marco Polo, the famous city’s main airport. This means Ryanair will now have 17 bases in Italy, joining seven for Wizz Air. Significantly, Wizz Air only revealed its first base – at Milan Malpensa – just 17 months ago, showing how fast it has grown.
While Ryanair will base three 197-seat B737 MAX 200s at the Venice Marco Polo, Wizz Air will base two 239-seat A321neos. Combined, the ULCCs will introduce 34 routes, as detailed in the following table. Ryanair’s coming routes include links to new bases at Helsinki and Stockholm Arlanda, together with Cork, which will reopen in December 2021.
Intriguingly, Ryanair’s new base announcement comes soon after it opened a base at Treviso, a long-standing alternative airport to Venice. The carrier has two B737-800s at the airport and it’ll be intriguing to see if and how it now changes.
|Airline||From Venice to…||Start date||Weekly flights|
|Wizz Air||Cagliari||March 3rd||3|
|Wizz Air||Casablanca||March 4th||3|
|Wizz Air||Fuerteventura||April 3rd||2|
|Wizz Air||Keflavik||April 2nd||2|
|Wizz Air||Lamezia Terme||March 3rd||4|
|Wizz Air||Lampedusa||March 6th||2|
|Wizz Air||London Luton||March 3rd||4|
|Wizz Air||Mykonos||June 1st||3|
|Wizz Air||Naples||March 3rd||7|
|Wizz Air||Palma||June 1st||3|
|Wizz Air||Prague||April 1st||3|
|Wizz Air||Santorini||June 4th||2|
|Wizz Air||Sharm El Sheikh||November 1st (2022)||2|
|Ryanair||Stockholm Arlanda||March 29th||2|
|Wizz Air||Tallinn||March 4th||2|
|Wizz Air||Tel Aviv||April 2nd||2|
|Wizz Air||Tenerife South||November 1st (2022)||3|
Wizz Air and Ryanair in the Venice area
Both ULCCs have long served Venice-area airports. Ryanair has served Treviso, around 40 kilometers from Venice, for many, many years. It was a classic secondary airport for the wider Venice region.
Ryanair had more than three million seats at Treviso in both 2018 and 2019, OAG data confirms, then making the airport one of its largest non-bases. It is now a base. Meanwhile, Wizz Air has been at Treviso since 2008. It has grown slowly and steadily, with 447,000 round-trip seats in 2019.
Wizz Air first served Marco Polo in 2011 and again in 2017 and 2020, but for one reason: the brief closure of Treviso. The same is broadly true of Ryanair. It wasn’t until 2019 and 2021 that Ryanair and Wizz Air respectively started to get going at Marco Polo.
These are Ryanair and Wizz Air’s coming routes. Yellow = Ryanair; purple = Wizz Air; blue = where both will operate. Note: Naples is included in blue because Wizz will begin it, complementing Ryanair’s existing service. Image: GCMap.Stay aware: Sign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.
Little head-to-head competition
With ultra-efficient new equipment to be based at Marco Polo, competition between the pair of ULCCs continues. Except it doesn’t, really. For while Ryanair has revealed 18 routes and Wizz Air 16, they’ll compete head-to-head on just two based on the coming routes and three overall.
In addition to existing direct competition to Catania, they’ll also compete to Naples when Wizz Air begins. And they’ll be head-to-head on the 403 nautical mile link to the Sardinian destination of Cagliari.
While Wizz Air will have three-weekly flights to Cagliari, Ryanair will have 14-weekly. How the ‘battle of the beasts’ plays out on this route will be exciting to watch. Italian consumers should get ready for absurdly low fares, for Volotea also links Caligari from Marco Polo, and Ryanair serves it from Treviso too.
Wizz Air has doubled its Italy presence
Wizz Air has used the pandemic to adjust its network strategy to increasingly focus on Western Europe to Western Europe markets. Multiple countries now have bases. Not all have worked, especially in Norway, but the adjustment has been relentless.
Italy is no exception, with Venice joining new bases at Milan Malpensa, Bari, Catania, Naples, Palermo, and Rome Fiumicino. This fast expansion has seen Wizz Air’s Italian seat capacity grow by 203% this year versus 2019.
Must feel somewhat sorry for the ‘new’ Alitalia
While 2022 data is far from complete and currently excludes the new Venice base, Wizz Air has 6.8 million seats planned between January and September – over twice as many as the whole of 2019. 2022 looks set to be another record-breaking year, but perhaps one to ‘bed down’ all the capacity growth as demand hopefully returns and outpaces capacity.
The year 2022 will hopefully also see Ryanair, easyJet, and Volotea finally pass 2019 capacity. In the current year, OAG shows that Ryanair is at 72% of its 2019 volume, Wizz Air 203%, easyJet 40%, and Volotea 78%.
What do you make of their growth in Venice? Let us know in the comments.