|Commenced operations||19 May 2004|
|Destinations||97 (in 35 countries)|
|Company slogan||Now we can all fly.|
|Parent company||Indigo Partners|
|Headquarters||Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport, Hungary|
Wizz Air Hungary Airlines Ltd. (Hungarian: Wizz Air Hungary Légiközlekedési Kft.) is a Hungarian low-cost airline with its head office on the property of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest. The airline typically uses secondary airports serving many cities across Europe, and Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. It has the largest fleet of any Hungarian airline although it is not a flag carrier. Wizz Air currently serves 35 countries.
The airline was established in September 2003. The lead investor is Indigo Partners, an American private equity firm specialising in transportation investments. The first flight was made from Katowice on 19 May 2004, 19 days after Poland and Hungary entered the European Union and the single European aviation market. The airline carried 250,000 passengers in its first three and a half months, and almost 1.4 million passengers in the first year of operations. In 2007, Wizz Air carried 2.9 million passengers on its Polish routes.
The airline's CEO and chairman is József Váradi, former CEO of Malév Hungarian Airlines. The company is registered in Pest County (Hungary) with operating subsidiaries in Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria. Wizz Air Bulgaria was established in September 2005. Váradi won the Ernst & Young award of the 'Brave Innovator' in 2007.
In 2011, Wizz Air carried 11 million passengers (15% more than in 2010), including 4.2 million passengers on Polish routes (only 2% more than in 2010). In recent years[when?] Wizz stopped developing its network of connections from Poland and opened new bases in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Serbia. However, Poland is still the largest capital market for Wizz Air.
Wizz Air has its Headquarters in Building 221 of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport in Budapest. Wizz Air signed the lease agreement in October 2010 and moved there in June 2011. The airline occupies over 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of space in an office building refurbished after the airline's arrival. The facility, with open plan offices, houses about 150 employees. Previously, its head office was in the Airport Business Park C2 in Vecsés, close to the airport.
While attempting to hasten SkyEurope's demise in June 2009, Wizz Air claimed it had been "profitable for several years". However, as a private company — annual reports are available at http://e-beszamolo.kim.gov.hu/kereses-Default.aspx — it is not required to publish its financial accounts. In November 2009, it emerged that Wizz Air was significantly loss-making and had never made a profit while delaying the pay-back of €32 million of debt by five years. Losses since commencing operations total €78 million, which, in 2009, fueled suggestions that the airline would file for bankruptcy. Since then Wizz Air reported record profits in 2012.
According to the Hungarian weekly magazine Figyelő, Wizz Air ranks as the 42nd company in Hungary in revenues in 2010. Wizz Air posted sales of HUF165 billion in 2010, which was an increase of 22% compared to the previous year.
Wizz Air prefers to land at smaller or secondary airports to reduce costs and fees.
Wizz Air started new services between Katowice and London Gatwick in 2008. Winter destinations from Warsaw are Milan Bergamo and Grenoble. In January 2008, flights started from Gdansk to Gothenburg, Bournemouth and Coventry.
In summer 2008, Wizz Air restarted the summer only services from Katowice and Budapest to Girona, as well as a new weekly service to Girona from Gdańsk. Other summer services from Budapest are Heraklion, Corfu, Burgas and Varna, from Katowice to Crete-Heraklion and Burgas, Warsaw to Corfu and Burgas. They also restarted the three-times weekly service from London Luton to Burgas.
On 2 October 2008, Wizz Air announced that a number of its Romania services would have increased frequency following an order for three Airbus A320 aircraft. Services began 15 February 2009 from Timisoara, on 1 March 2009 from Bucharest, and 1 May 2009 from Cluj-Napoca.
On April 11, 2013 Wizz air announced that it would start flights from Budapest Airport to Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport starting from June 17, 2013. It will become the furthest of Wizz Air's destinations. The airline will push further again from late October 2013 when it is set to become one of the first airlines to operate from Dubai World Central Airport.
The Ukrainian division of Wizz Air, which has its own air operator's certificate, has three aircraft based at Kyiv Zhuliany International Airport, one based at Donetsk International Airport, and from 30 April 2014 a fifth aircraft based at Lviv International Airport. As result of the 2014 situation in Ukraine, Wizz Air Ukraine only has two aircraft based in Ukraine for Kiev and Lviv as of June.
According to customer reviews, Wizz Air is a two-star airline, making it comparable to Ryanair. Calls to the customer service department cost 0.95 EUR per minute, according to Wizz Air's homepage. Controversially, Wizz Air maintains that it takes up to 30 days to process customer complaint emails.
In 2009, the company initiated an official complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization against a registered domain name on the grounds, among others, that the addition of the suffix "sucks" to the respondent's domain name was a negative term used to indicate criticism. It was the opinion of the panel that "...in respect of genuine and non-commercial criticism of the complainant does not amount to bad faith registration and use." The final judgment resulted in the complaint being denied and the panel declined to order the transfer of the disputed domain name.
Wizz Air has a buy on board service called Wizz Café and a shopping service called Wizz Boutique. For both services, the base price is in euros. Other currencies are also accepted, depending on the origin and destination of the flight. Wizz Air flights also accept EuroCard, MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards.
New cabin baggage policy
On 4 October 2012, Wizz Air launched a new cabin bag policy to encourage customers to bring smaller baggage on-board following a successful month-long trial on the London Luton and Katowice route. This means that a smaller (42x32x25cm) cabin bag can be taken on board for free; larger cabin bags (56x45x25cm) would incur a fee varying between €10 or €30.
The Wizz Air fleet consists of the following aircraft with an average fleet age of 3.9 years (as of July 2014):
Incidents and accidents
- On June 8, 2013, Wizz Air Flight 3141, an Airbus A320-232 (registration HA-LWM) from Bucharest - Henri Coandă Airport, Romania to Rome-Ciampino, Italy, made an emergency landing on Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport when the crew encountered problems getting the one of the main undercarriage down and locked. The aircraft diverted to Fiumicino because of the longer runway, and firefighters applied foam to aircraft and runway after landing as a precautionary measure. The aircraft was evacuated using slides. Initial reports of injured passengers were denied by both Wizz Air and Rome Fiumicino Airport, who said some passengers requested medical checkups but reported no injuries. The aircraft returned to service on 28 August 2013.
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- Wizz Air Fleet
Media related to Wizz Air at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (English)