Ultra-low-cost airline halts service on 84 European and international routes

Hungarian ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air has announced that 84 routes have been permanently withdrawn from sale, a third of which include flights to Italy, the country most served by Wizz Air since the start of the pandemic.

A similar pattern of route cuts was noticed in ULCC, border airline holdings or the remaining ultra-low-cost carriers, with four in ten of its cuts including similar Wizz Air routes. Routes connecting Western Europe to the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa account for almost half of these reductions, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Additionally, Vienna airport was the hardest hit, as it saw 12 lines cut – Alghero, Charleroi, Cologne, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Faro, Madrid, Menorca, Oslo, Skavsta, Tallinn and Warsaw. Austria Airport and Wizz Air came together in 2018 and saw tremendous growth in low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers, reaching 12.3 million seats in 2019, double the rate of a year ago. two years.

Although all airlines are affected somewhat by the pandemic, Wizz Air and Ryanair are disproportionately affected as many of their routes are brand new. For example, a dozen Wizz Air routes in Vienna were in direct competition with Ryanair this year, including Skavsta, a 103 km route from Vienna to Stockholm.

While Wizz Air removed this route, Ryanair added Arlanda Airport and the Vienna route moved to the latter. However, since Ryanair added Stockholm Arlanda, it no longer flies to Skavsta and its route from Vienna has shifted to Arlanda Airport, snatching this route away from competitors.

Other heavily affected airports include Larnaca in Cyprus with eight routes cut, Warsaw (seven) and Naples (six), Gdansk, Milan Malpensa and Eindhoven (five each), Dortmund and Sofia (four each) and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine. (Three).

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In addition, Wizz Air will also discontinue its service to the Norwegian city of Bodø and the Turkish beach destination of Bodrum, as they both used one route each: Bodø from Gdansk (Poland) and Bodrum from Rome. ULCC started the 1,453 kilometer route from Gdansk to Bodø in May 2019, while the Rome-Bodrum route was launched in July 2021.

Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca, entered Wizz Air’s network this summer and has only seen routes from Italy, Malpensa, Rome, Venice, Bologna and Naples, with two of the latter no longer served.

However, in general, low-cost and ultra-low-cost carriers should see their last days to be economical alternatives, as they no longer fulfill their purpose of offering cheap airline tickets. A recently released report by the European Travel Council (ETC) highlights that travel costs have fallen over the past two decades, with global average spend per international trip across all destinations down 17% in 2019 compared to their level of 2000 in real prices.

According to ETC, cheap air fares, which have increased the number of trips such as shorter trips and weekend city breaks, are responsible for the demise of these low-cost carrier providers.

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