Wizz Air tops Blue Air as no 1 low-fare carrier in Romania

Wizz Air claimed the top spot in the local low-fare aviation industry, starting from February 1, with a 36% market share, edging out Blue Air that glided into second position with 34%, Wizz Air said.

“This position will be preserved and even improved on a monthly basis, and we expect a 43% market share for April, much above Blue Air which will probably relapse to 29%”, said Luke Farajallah, COO at Wizz Air.

The company aims at carrying 1.7 million passengers this year, up 71% than a year earlier, when the low-cost airline carried nearly 900,000 passengers.

“This growth lays 90% on new passengers, considering that in December 2008 – March 2009 we will add 15 new routes with aircrafts departing from Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara airports, but we will rely on the fluctuation of passengers who are shifting their travel choices from premium carriers to low-cost in order to reduce the cost of traveling due to economic crisis affecting us all”, the head of Wizz Air explained, adding that the Hungarian-based operator will carry no less than 2.5 million passengers on its routes operated from and to Romania in 2010.

Nearly 25-30% Wizz Air passengers travel for business purposes, in slight increase from last year, due to global crisis. “It is normal for the low-cost operators to record growth in times of crisis, as people are seeking to reduce cost for travelling, both on leisure and business segment”, said the representative of Wizz Air.

He forecasts a 40-50% market share for Wizz Air by year-end in the Romanian aviation market.

As of next week, Wizz Air will open the third operational airbase in Romania, at Timisoara, which will deploy aircrafts to 13 destinations.

Romania is currently the biggest market in terms of important and number of routes, after Poland, the local market gearing roughly 25% of the company’s revenues.

Although they have operated an internal flight in Romania, Bucharest – Cluj-Napoca, the representative of the low-cost carrier say the Romanian market is still not ready for this type of routes.

“Romanians are used to travel in Romania by train, by car and less by plane. Furthermore, in order to operate internal routes, it takes low-bodied aircrafts and enhanced frequency, whereas Wizz Air strategy is based on wide-bodied aircrafts and low frequency”, he added.

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