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European LCCs expand operations with new bases

written by Hannah Dowling | March 10, 2021

A Wizz Air Airbus A320-232 (Clément Alloing)

Two European low-cost carriers have announced they will expand their operations with the introduction of new routes and new bases, as they await pent-up demand for air travel over the upcoming summer season.

Hungary-based low-cost carrier Wizz Air has announced the addition of its 42nd global base, in Palermo, Sicily.

From June 2021, the airline will station two of its Airbus A321 aircraft at Palermo Falcone Borsellino Airport.

The new addition will bring Wizz Air to a total of four bases in Italy alone.

The airline also announced seven new services from Palermo and four other domestic services from Bologna, Brindisi, Pisa, Milan Malpensa, and Catania from June 2021.

Wizz Air’s history in Italy dates back to 2004 when the first departed from Bergamo to Katowice.

The airline has carried 41 million passengers to and from Italy in the past 17 years. As part of Wizz Air’s expansion, the airline continues to increase its operations in Italy with domestic and international flights.


The two Airbus A321 aircraft based in Palermo will support the operations of 11 new routes connecting the following 10 cities: Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (Euroairport), Bologna, London Luton, Milan Malpensa, Pisa, Torino, Treviso, Verona, Brindisi, and Cagliari, totaling in more than 1,000,000 additional seats on sale from Italy in 2021.

Meanwhile, Eurowings, a Lufthansa low-cost subsidiary based in Germany, announced it will open its own new base at the recently opened Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) on 1 April 2021.

Eurowings had already emphasised the importance of the capital at the launch of the new airport in October 2020 and announced its intention to strengthen its position in Berlin.

Now the airline intends to station three of its Airbus A320 aircraft at the new BER – just in time for the start of the world’s largest travel trade show, ITB.

With the opening of its base, Eurowings is also reacting to the withdrawal of international competitors who have largely left the German market in the wake of the crisis. “Others are leaving, we are staying here,” said Eurowings CEO Jens Bischof. Since the capital’s airport opened in October 2020, Eurowings has already taken off from Berlin more than 1,000 times.

In February 2021, every third BER departure was a Eurowings flight.

Bischof describes BER and Eurowings as a “perfect match”.

“Berlin is and will remain an absolute tourist magnet and one of the most exciting metropolises in Europe, both culturally and historically,” he said.

“So, it’s only logical that we, as Germany’s No. 1 tourist airline, expand our presence in the capital by opening our own base. We are very pleased to soon be able to fly residents of Berlin and Brandenburg to their well-deserved vacation after the end of the lockdown.”

With the opening of the Berlin base in April, Eurowings will once again connect the capital with Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Stuttgart up to three times a day – on many days even more frequently.

The airline is focusing in particular on off-peak times, which are popular with travellers.

As Germany’s largest vacation airline, Eurowings also has the most popular vacation destinations to Mallorca, the Canary Islands, Greece, Austria, Corsica, Croatia, and Egypt in its program.

Aircraft operated by Eurowings will be positioned preferentially at Pier North of the new Capital Airport. Passengers thus benefit from short distances, boarding without bus transfers, and a direct building connection to the Lufthansa lounge.

Additional reporting by Airlinerwatch.


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