In January 2008, the three operators carried 143,600 passengers from and to Romania. The 41% increase in traffic for low-fare operators mentioned above highlight the passengers’ shift of travel choices to low-cost carriers in order to reduce the cost of travelling due to global economic crisis.

Wizz Air, 124% growth

The biggest growth in low-fare aviation industry was marked by Wizz Air that carried 52,000 more passengers in January 2009, compared to prior-year period. If in January 2008 Wizz Air carried 42,000 passengers, a year later, the company reported 124% growth, up to 94,000 passengers.

The aircrafts’ load factor was 83% in first month of this year.

Wizz Air is operating 23 weekly flights from Timisoara, which accounts for nearly a quarter of operator’s activity in Romania.

The low-fare carrier took its first step in Romania in July 2006 and established the first hub in Bucharest in June 2007, and the second in Cluj, in May 2008. The third airbase was opened in Timisoara in February 2009.

The company is currently operating flights on 24 routes to 10 destinations, from Bucharest, Cluj, Targu-Mures and Timisoara.

Blue Air, moderate growth

Local Blue Air airline carried 75,000 passengers in the first month of 2009, 8,000 more than prior-year period. Although the company marked a 12,75 drop in traffic in January, Blue Air’s market share fell to 34%, the company being outranked by its rival Wizz Air by 36%, according to Wizz Air market research.

The company aims at carrying about 1.5 mln passengers in 2009, and 150 mln euro turnover.

In Romania, the company deploys aircrafts from its airbases in Bucharest, Arad, Bacau, Constanta, and Sibiu.

The fleet of the company currently comprises seven wide -bodied Boeing 737: three 737-300 series aircrafts, two 737-400 series, and two 737-800 Next Generation aircrafts.

My Air stagnates

Although it doesn’t seem to be the most profitable year in Romania for Italian My Air carrier, the operator defends its third position in local low-cost market. If in January 2008, the company carried 34,600 passengers, in January this year, the company marked a major decrease of 34,000.

Nevertheless, My Air’s aircrafts’ load factor climbed 2%, from 72% in 2008, up to 74% this year.

In 2008, the company carried over 400,000 passengers, at the same level as a year earlier.

For 2009, the company announced 10-20% cut in plane ticket prices as part of the company’s strategy to attract clients.

The majority of the 40 weekly flights operated by the company are to Italy. All flights are operated from Bucharest. The operator added two new destinations in its local summer timetable: to Rimini, from and to Ibiza with stopover in Italy.