Ultra-low-cost carrier Wizz Air will suspend its base operations at Cardiff due to a “challenging macro-economic environment”, but will continue to operate some services.
Wizz Air has been struggling as of late. This month, the Hungarian carrier revealed that it has suffered a heavy financial loss over the first quarter of €452.5 million compared to a loss of 114.4 million in the same period last year.
Now, the carrier has announced that it will be temporarily suspending base operations from Cardiff Airport over the winter from 19 September – but there are solid plans to return next spring with a boost in operations.
And to quell any anxieties Cardiff Airport may have and to prove its long-term commitment to the airport, Wizz Air has already launched its flight schedule for Summer 2023 from the Welsh capital.
Despite Wizz Air’s summer operations proving successful, the Hungarian carrier made this decision as it became impossible to be commercially viable through the imminent winter.
Marion Geoffroy is Wizz Air UK Managing Director. He continued to explain:
“We continue to value our close working relationship with Cardiff Airport and plan to resume base operations at the airport next year. We have already placed our full Cardiff summer schedule on sale […] and are introducing two new winter routes. It takes time to build up sustainable operations at any base, and we are prepared to build up operations at Cardiff over the long term.”
From mid-September, Wizz Air will suspend the following destinations from Cardiff:
4 popular Spanish destinations – Alicante, Lanzarote, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife Sur; two in Greece – Kerkyra, Corfu and Heraklion, Crete; Faro, Portugal; Larnaca, Cyprus; and Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
In a statement, the carrier said:
“Although this has been an incredibly difficult decision for the airline, it has been made with as much advance notice as possible to minimise any last-minute cancellations and maximise rebooking options for customers.”
Passengers affected by these changes can choose between a 120% refund of their original fare in airline credit, a 100% cash refund, or comparable flights next summer from Cardiff or – if they still wish to travel this year – via London Gatwick Airport or London Luton.
New European routes
Wizz Air will continue to operate from Cardiff following this hefty cut down over the winter travel season with the introduction of two new routes. From 30 October, you can get to Milan, Italy, and Bucharest, Romania with Wizz Air from Cardiff Airport.
Cardiff Airport Chief Executive Officer Spencer Birns commented on Wizz Air’s suspension of the majority of its services from the Welsh capital.
“It is disappointing and frustrating for our customers whose travel plans are disrupted as a result of Wizz Air’s reduction of operations at Cardiff Airport over the winter, which we understand is due to economic factors. We have seen great demand for travel to and from Wales this year. Our efforts to work with airlines to deploy more capacity on high-demand routes will certainly continue.”
Birns did welcome the new routes to Milan and Bucharest as well as Wizz Air’s commitment to return with a loaded schedule next summer.
“We look forward to Wizz Air increasing its operations to popular holiday destinations from Cardiff again next spring.”
What does this mean for Wizz Air staff based in Wales?
The majority of Wizz Air staff won’t have much to do until late October. And even then, due to the reduced services the Hungarian carrier will be running over the winter, not everyone will be required.
To deal with that, all Cardiff-based employees will be offered redeployment opportunities at other UK airports Wizz Air flies from over the winter.
What do you make of this latest announcement from Wizz Air? Were you planning to fly with the carrier from Cardiff? Share your thoughts and experiences with us by commenting below.