Travel sector ‘on the brink of falling of a cliff’ says expert
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The airline is now the fastest growing in Europe with the expansion in Gatwick seeing it acquire 15 new daily slots from Norwegian Air Shuttle. The deal means it will now be able to base an additional four Airbus A321neo aircraft at Gatwick, increasing its presence there to five aircraft. In an statement, the company said it would be launching “a host of new low-fare routes” as well as creating “significant inbound flight opportunities for Wizz Air Hungary.” Wizz Air’s Group Chief Executive Officer, József Váradi commented: “This announcement is further evidence of our commitment to London Gatwick Airport as well as the UK market, as we continue to create local jobs and deliver our promise of providing low-fare travel opportunities with excellent service to an ever-increasing range of exciting destinations, while flying one of the greenest aircraft fleets available on the market today.
“Acquiring airport slots at Gatwick Airport will enable us to enhance our presence and competitive position in the London market.
“We continue to develop our business in United Kingdom and remain committed to making air travel affordable for all.
“The 2022 season has the potential to be a tremendous opportunity for UK aviation to get back on its feet.”
The airline’s share price rose just over four percent today.
In total the new routes are expected to serve 14 destinations including Palma, Faro, Tel Aviv and Mykonos.
The routes will start flying from March with tickets advertised currently from as low as £8.99.
The Hungarian based carrier has been pursuing a plan of aggressive expansion in the face of the pandemic.
Since March 2020 it has opened 18 new bases, started over 400 new routes and delivered 39 new aircraft.
In a particularly bold move it also attempted an unsuccessful takeover of easyJet earlier this year.
EasyJet itself has been hoping for better trading in 2022 with the airline reporting booking numbers for spring and summer next year ahead of 2019 levels.
It is also now looking to expand its slots at Gatwick, as well as in other European airports such as Lisbon and Porto.
While Wizz Air is placing its stakes on a rebound in travel next year the current situation for airlines has been increasingly threatened by the arrival of Omicron.
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This week Ryanair warned annual losses could be more than double originally forecast as travel restrictions saw Christmas bookings plummet and flights cut for January.
Victoria Scholar, Head of Investment at Interactive Investor commented: “Airline stocks have had a torrid time during the pandemic with no let-up in the face of the latest Omicron variant.
“Ryanair has cut its full-year earnings guidance in yet another sign of pain for the embattled travel sector.”
Industry body Airlines UK have warned travel restrictions need to be removed entirely or Government support offered by January 5th in order to see firms through winter.
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