LONDON – Wizz Air UK (W9) has announced today that it will be adding London Gatwick (LGW) as its newest UK based hub to undergo expansion.

After the launch of these new routes, Wizz Air will be operating 119 routes to 69 destinations for 11 UK based airports.

The London Gatwick base will operate flights to four new destinations.

Wizz will offer customers the chance to fly from LGW to Lanzarote (ACE), Malta (MLA), Naples (NAP), and Athens (ATH).

Bookings are already open for the new route, and it now becomes the second London based hub for the Hungarian carrier.

Wizz Air Airbus A321-271N in Hamburg. Photo: Airbus

Stark Competition

easyJet announced yesterday its intentions to close three UK hubs, at London Stansted (STN), London Southend (SEN), and Newcastle (NCL), which now means that at two of easyJet’s largest hubs Gatwick and London Luton (LTN), Wizz Air will be directly competing with them.

London Gatwick – LanzaroteMonday, Wednesday, Friday23 October 2020
London Gatwick – AthensTuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday22 October 2020
London Gatwick – MaltaMonday, Wednesday, Friday23 October 2020
London Gatwick – NaplesTuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday22 Octover 2020
Table shows Planned Service start and service schedules for planned new routes

Owain Jones, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: “Already the fourth-largest airline group operating in the UK, today’s
announcement of our new Gatwick base and four new routes reinforces Wizz Air UK’s position as a British airline that is
growing, creating new jobs, bringing much-needed connectivity to the UK and so helping the economy get back in the

The news today follows on from the airline’s announcement last week of the introduction of a new UK based hub at Doncaster Sheffield Airport, which the carrier has expanded out with one Airbus A321 aircraft.

This is while launching seven new routes to destinations across Europe to; Alicante (ALC), Malaga (AGP), Larnaca (LCA), Faro (FAO), Lublin (LUZ), Kosice (KSC) and Suceava (SCV) which are due to start operations in October.

Wizz Air Airbus A321-271N landing in Milano Malpensa Intl’ Airport (MXP). Photo: Nicholas Moneta

UK Restrictions Won’t Stop Wizz Air

With the current restrictions on travel have crippled UK based low-cost carriers such as EasyJet, there is concern that the carrier will face the same issues.

However, Wizz Air boss József Váradi told Nick Ferrari on LBC Radio this morning that they are a nimble operator and will switch routes depending on demand.

Mr. Jones added: “Now more customers in the London area and the South of England than ever before can take advantage of Wizz Air’s ultra-low fares to travel to their favorite sunny holiday spot on-board our young and green fleet of Airbus aircraft, with our new Gatwick flights starting just in time for the October half-term and with our special offer on WIZZ Flex, you can book in confidence that you can change your travel plans as many times as you need to, with no change fee.”

Photo: Wizz Air

Slot-blocking Restrictions

Despite the airline’s plans to expand at Gatwick, it has however criticized the move of the carrier such as Virgin Atlantic (VA) and British Airways (BA), who are retaining their slots at London Gatwick.

This is despite such airlines having pulled out as part of its plans to consolidate their fleets and routes to maximise profits.

Mr. Jones said, “We stand ready to continue to support the UK’s recovery with further growth at key airports if slot-blocking by other airlines is stopped allowing WIZZ to deliver on our promise of providing affordable travel for all.”

With such restrictions applied to the carrier for slots, it is unclear how they will best move to utilize their “nimble” operations, with more needing to be done to make slot blocking against the rules in terms of fair play.

Photo: Wizz Air

Announcement is a Boost for Gatwick

Even with the issues facing the carrier, the news today is a step in the right direction for the recovery of UK air travel, which has been one of the hardest-hit across Europe following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, IATA released a report on the state of European air travel demanding more to be done to protect jobs and economies.

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport, said. “This is encouraging news for Gatwick, particularly at a time when the
the industry has been so negatively impacted by COVID-19.”

“Having a new aircraft based at Gatwick underpins the resilience of our business for the long-term and ensures we continue to offer our passengers great choice.”

“This is a welcome indication of the positive conversations we are having with airlines both existing and new about securing Gatwick’s future.”

Gatwick airport has invested into ensuring all passengers are safe during their travel, with the introduction of social distancing procedures at check-in, security, gate rooms, and seating in departure halls, restaurants, bars, and shops.

Alongside these new measures, LGW has over the recent years invested in a lot in new technology for easier travel for customers, with bio-metric boarding gates being used.

Safety Measures on each flight

With the introduction of safety measures at each airport, Wizz Air also operates a policy requirement for all passengers to travel with face masks on.

In addition to the face masks, the airline aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters which destroy 99.97% of viruses and bacteria from the air, which is allowing their customers to travel with peace of mind that they are safe on each flight.

It remains clear that going forward, Wizz Air is not afraid of expansion, especially during a very volatile period for the industry.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how much success can be taken out of Gatwick, as well as with the current bases at Luton and Doncaster respectively.