Wizz delays launch of St Petersburg base

The launch of Hungarian carrier Wizz Air’s proposed base at Pulkovo Airport (LED) serving St Petersburg has been pushed back until the end of the year.

The airline unveiled plans in June to station one Airbus A320 at the airport from Sept. 1 and open five seventh freedom routes. A month later it then announced a second A320 would be stationed at LED from December, supporting the launch of an additional five routes to Italy.

However, in a statement the ULCC has now confirmed that the launch of the Russian base will be in December, citing travel restriction in Europe for the delay. “Although it is beyond the airline’s control, Wizz Air sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience caused,” the LCC said.

On Jan. 1, 2020, LED became the first airport in Russia to receive seventh freedom rights for foreign airlines. The seventh freedom allows airlines to commence commercial services between two foreign countries without touching its home country.

Russia’s Ministry of Transport approved 21 countries to operate such flights without any restrictions and a further nine with some restrictions on points of departure or arrival. The move came three months after Russia simplified the visa requirement for 53 nations arriving into St. Petersburg by air.

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From LED, Wizz originally intended to serve Salzburg (SZG) from Sept. 18, with flights to Oslo (OSL), Copenhagen (CPH), Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) and Malta (MLA) beginning a day later.

In addition, flights to Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Venice Treviso (TSF) were scheduled to start on Dec. 14, followed by Bologna (BLQ) on Dec. 17. Service to Turin (TRN) was to begin on Dec. 19 and Catania (CTA) on March 30, 2021.

The revised schedule sees BGY and TSF start on Dec. 3, followed by SZG and CPH on Dec. 4. Flights to MLA will begin a day later, with NYO and OSL on Dec. 15. The start dates for BLQ, TRN and CTA remain the same as before.

Photo credit: Pulkovo Airport

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.