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Wizz Air opens a (small) base at London Gatwick

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Wizz Air made a lot of noise on Tuesday with its announcement that it was opening a base at London Gatwick airport in October.

‘Base’ is potentially taking it a bit far though. Wizz Air is to station a grand total on ONE aircraft, an A321neo, at Gatwick from October. For comparison, Wizz has 11 aircraft based at Luton.

Wizz Air already operates from Gatwick, flying in aircraft from other bases around Europe. Basing an aircraft at Gatwick will allow it to fly to cities which are not existing hubs.

The aircraft is due to fly to:

  • Athens (4x weekly)
  • Lanazarote (3x weekly)
  • Malta (3x weekly)
  • Naples (4x weekly)

Wizz is keen to expand further if it can get hold of well-timed take-off and landing slots. It is the only airline which is publicly campaigning against keeping the ‘use it or lose it’ slot rules suspended. Wizz feels that many airlines, naming no names, will never return to Gatwick and should be forced to give up their slots now rather than restrict competition.

The new routes launch in the week of 22nd October.

Comments (6)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BJ says:

    I stayed in this Indigo a few years ago. It was nice and staff were very pleasant. They gave me an upgrade to a junior suite which was also nice, decorated in a London theme but I suppose that would only add to the appeal for tourists. I cannot recall what status I was at the time, at least platinum but probably spire. The comp minibar was well stocked with both drinks and snacks, and there were flasks of hot chocolate on the bedside cabinets. One odd thing I recall was that they had the main entrance locked quite early in the evening, don’t know why. Location could work well for visitors wanting to do stuff in West of the city; combining Knightsbridge and SK mueuns with Kew Gardens, Wetlands and Wimbledon.

  • Tony says:

    Sorry but don’t like the new format!

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Would you like to add anything specific and constructive, which may be used to improve the site?

  • Stuart says:

    Stayed here a couple of years ago on a BA holiday (Travelling down from Newcastle, I easily saved £300+ vs the train / flight and hotel separate price). I gave them my IHG number on check in. Not sure if it was because I had to wait for my room or anything but I got a few freebies from reception. Our room was on ground floor which was weird as you had to walk through the restaurant and round the back of the bar to get there and it was a bit noisy from the road outside. Otherwise breakfast was good, although not sure it will be the same at the present covid times. I know it’s probably not the best located hotel but the 2 minutes walk to Earls Court gets you into the main tourist hot spots in about 20 mins on the tube without changing lines and it’s also directly connected to Heathrow which all worked well for me travelling with an infant and baggage!

  • Michael Jennings says:

    Wizzair started out flying people from Eastern Europe to Western Europe. All their bases were in (cheaper) eastern locations. They flew to a huge number of flights to and from Luton before it had any aircraft based their.

    Recently, though, part of their expansion strategy has been to join up the dots to connect those many Western European locations that they have flown to but not flown between up until now. That initially involves setting up bases with one or two aircraft, but then increasing that dramatically (as has been done at Luton) later if it works out. Expect to see this at Gatwick too if they can get the slots they want there.

    • PeteBarnet says:

      Entirely agree, Michael. Actually, their strategy is more dangerous from the perspective of EZY and BA (at least, as far as BA might want to operate any short-haul services from LGW in the future, but low Wizz prices could easily steal more price sensitive passengers from BA at LHR, same as EZY have historically done). Wizz are gunning for the classic high margin leisure routes, ultimately stealing EZY’s and to a lesser extent, BA’s dinner. They are flying to a lot more places in western Europe than just those they’ve historically flown to from the east. EZY are already withdrawing from STN and SEN (not to mention Newcastle) and have cancelled or deferred aircraft orders. Wizz meanwhile are taking everything Airbus can throw at them; where EZY withdraws from the north-east, Wizz put it a base in Doncaster. With a modicum of success these bases will soon harbour two, three, four aircraft, just as soon as Airbus can deliver them. The LGW base is the start of something very big, that will not only rival EZY in time, but will even steal price sensitive travellers from Emirates and Qatar once the 321XLR are delivered and Wizz can connect LGW with its new AUH base. Wizz is the most expansionist and downright successful carrier in Europe today and is worth keeping a close eye on. They are easy to dismiss when sinking champagne in a BA lounge at T5 with Gold status but the reality – certainly as far as short haul European aviation is concerned – is that short haul business class is not where the innovation is, nor is it where the big profits are generated.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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