Wizz Air hits 100 routes from Romania with Cluj-Napoca base growth

Central and Eastern European low-cost specialist, Wizz Air is to further expand its activities in the Romanian market next year, boosting its network from the country to more than 100 routes. In its latest growth the carrier will add a fifth based Airbus A320 to its Cluj-Napoca fleet from July 2016 to introduce four new routes, including one brand new destinations for the carrier.

The additional aircraft will arrive ahead of a July 22, 2016 launch of the four new routes and will also facilitate frequency growth in some of its existing markets. Wizz Air will offer new twice weekly links between Cluj-Napoca and Alicante, Berlin Schoenefeld, Billund and Doncaster Sheffield, with the German capital become the newest destination in its network of 113 airports.

With the four newest routes and the recently announced flights to Munich Memmingen, Wizz Air’s network encompasses a total of 27 routes to eleven countries from Cluj-Napoca and the additional A320 will allow more flights to be added to London Luton (from twice to three times daily) and Tel Aviv (from twice to three times weekly) from July 22. 2016.

Wizz Air has seen a 20 per cent increase in traffic on Romanian routes in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the first nine months of 2014, while at Cluj-Napoca the traffic increased by 42 per cent during the same period. Since beginning operations nine years ago, the airline has carried 21 million passengers from Romanian airports.

"I’m delighted that our Romanian business keeps growing. By adding a fifth aircraft to our Cluj-Napoca base, we are responding to demand and continue to invest in offering more travel opportunities at low fares,” said John Stephenson, Executive Vice President, Wizz Air at a press conference announcing the expansion earlier this month.

However, all is not progressing smoothly for Wizz Air in the Romanian market and the carrier this week has announced a delay to the resumption of its operations from Craiova International Airport so that major airport upgrades can be completed. The carrier was due to resume flights from October 25, 2015 but has confirmed it will instead operate its planned Craiova schedule from Bucharest’s Henri Coanda International Airport until November 9, 2015 with complimentary ground transfers for passengers.

“Until the Romanian civil aviation authority issues approval for normal flight operations from Craiova, including taxiways and aprons, we will not operate there,” said John Stephenson.

Wizz Air offers flights to five destinations from Craiova; Barcelona, Bologna, London Luton, Milan Bergamo and Rome Ciampino. These were suspended from June 1, 2015 when the airport was closed for major renovation work.

“Though we have no choice, we apologise to our customers for this delay in resuming our flights from Craiova,” said Stephenson. “We know there will be some inconvenience and we are doing everything we can to minimise it. We are eager to resume our normal operations in Craiova.”

Wizz Air made its debut in the Romanian market in July 2006 when it introduced flights to Tirgu Mures from Budapest and now offers flights from eight Romanian destinations comprising, Arad, Bucharest Henri Coanda, Cluj-Napoca, Constana, Craiova, Iasi, Sibiu, Tirgu Mures and Timisoara.

Data from flight schedule provider OAG highlights Wizz Air’s rise in the Romanian international market since its debut in 2006. In 2013 it increased its marketshare of international capacity beyond the 30 per cent figure, rising to 33.3 per cent last year: it is scheduled to rise to 34.6 per cent in 2015, based on current published schedules having boosted its own capacity by 17.2 per cent.

Richard Maslen

Richard Maslen has travelled across the globe to report on developments in the aviation sector as airlines and airports have continued to evolve and…