MIAMI – Wizz Air (W6) names Cardiff airport (CWL) as its fourth UK base, giving the airport a lifeline amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When the summer 2021 season begins in late March, the airline will launch nine new leisure routes from the South Wales airport.

According to W6, the “significant investment” would generate 40 direct jobs and more than 250 indirect jobs. The Hungarian company’s UK subsidiary will service one Airbus A321 aircraft at the airport.

During the pandemic, CWL experienced one of the biggest percentage decreases in passenger numbers among UK airports. In October, only 8,400 passengers traveled through CWL, 94% less than in 2019 during the same month. To add insult to injury, Qatar Airways (QR) has suspended the airport’s flagship route to Doha over the winter.

Wizz Air will service the following destinations from its new base at CWL: Alicante, Faro, Larnaca, Tenerife, Corfu, Heraklion, Palma de Mallorca, Lanzarote and Sharm El Sheikh. This will raise the annual capacity of the airport by more than 350,000 seats, the airline said.

In October, W6 opened new bases at London Gatwick (LGW) and Doncaster (DSA) airports. It had a single UK base previously, at Luton Airport (LTN).

Wizz Air UK at Luton Airport. Photo: Mike Burdett

Official Comments

“The announcement was described as “fantastic news for Wales” by Cardiff airport interim chief executive Spencer Birns. “The Wizz Air UK base will offer our customers a huge amount of choice to travel from Cardiff to some of the most popular holiday destinations, at affordable prices. We know that after such a challenging year many people living in Wales crave a well-deserved holiday.”

“This is welcome news and a positive step that will help Cardiff airport emerge from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said on his part Wales’ transport minister, Ken Skates. “The new Wizz services will increase passenger choices, create jobs and add to the economic benefits of the airport.”

Owain Jones, managing director of W6’s UK arm, said, “This is an extremely exciting time for Wizz Air as we increase our footprint in the UK even further.

“The creation of our fourth UK base at Cardiff airport reflects Wizz Air’s continued commitment to serving the UK market and generating economic growth, as we create local jobs, stimulate the tourism and hospitality industries and deliver on our promise of providing affordable, direct flights to exciting holiday destinations.”

“Today’s expansion into Wales brings increased connectivity to the region, so passengers can take advantage of Wizz Air’s ultra-low fares to travel to their favourite sunny holiday spots onboard our young and green aircraft fleet.”

Featured image: Wizz Air Airbus A321 aircraft. Photo: Alan Wilson.