April 27, 2015
Instability in the region sees Wizz Air Ukraine cease operations
While Wizz Air is due to open its 21st base, this time in Poland, in September, the Ukraine arm of the airline has ceased operations. According to the company, instability in Eastern Ukraine, volatility and devaluation of the local currency, plus the impact of foreign exchange controls are the principal reasons behind the decision to cease operations. However this does not mean the end for the operations of Wizz Air in the Ukraine. The airline operated two Airbus A320s over 16 routes in the Ukraine, and already one of these aircraft has been redeployed on eight routes both into and out of the Ukraine from April 20th. Additionally, by the beginning of June, a Kiev-based A320 will be redeployed to Wizz Air’s recently opened operating base in Kosice, Slovakia.
Wizz Air should remain a major airline in the Ukrainian market with Wizz Air Hungary picking up much of the slack and minimizing any negative impact. It has said it is still ready for expansion once there is a notable improvement in the current aviation market. A statement released by the company has indicated they feel the closure of the Ukraine arm will not be detrimental to the group’s trading operations and subsequent financial year. The airline is based out of Budapest, Hungary, and is renowned for serving secondary airports as a method of reducing operating costs. Established in 2003, Wizz Air has the largest fleet of any of the Hungarian airlines and presently covers 35 countries, though it is not currently a flag carrier. Over the previous 12 months up to March 31, Wizz Air transported 16.5 million passengers, an amount which is up 17% year-on-year, while the load factor rose 1 point to 86.7% during the same period of time.