New European Airline Begins Flying Next Month
Ten countries in central Europe are set to join the EU next and
that could be just the news WIZZ is looking for. Europe's newest
low-cost carrier is set to debut with the idea of serving what
until now has been a traditionally underserved market.
"We've secured over six million euros for the company, and we're
just ahead of raising a further several tens of millions of euros,"
WIZZ Air CEO Jozsef Varadi, former head of Hungarian national
airline Malev, told Reuters in an interview.
Varadi isn't alone. There's a bumper crop of budget carriers
across central Europe and apparently a bumper crop of passengers.
Until now, most have been served by national flag carriers. But
when those ten countries join the EU on May 1, countries will no
longer be able to protect flag carriers from international
In central and eastern Europe most of the traffic (for low cost
airlines) will come from passengers who have never travelled by air
before," Varadi said. "We will target people who can afford to
travel but have not afforded to fly so far."
WIZZ Air launches a little more than two weeks after its home
country, Hungary, joins the EU. From its hub in Krakow, Poland, the
airline will initially serve Budapest, London, Rome, Milan and
Varadi wants to move fast -- no sticking toes in the water to
test the temperature. "Today the competition is so sharp that it
does not tolerate a strategy of step-by-step expansion," he
To go along with rapid deployment and a media blitz, Varadi said
WIZZ Air plans to offer fares averaging about 50 Euros. That may be
more expensive than Britain's Ryanair, but it's cheaper than
Varadi hopes to fly more than two million passengers during his
company's first year of operation.