Wizz Air announced (04-Sep-2013) the fourth aircraft for its Bulgaria base at Sofia Airport. The new A320 aircraft will be delivered in Sofia in May-2014. The new aircraft will support operations of a total of 16 Sofia routes and increase seat capacity by 30% resulting in over 1.1 million seats. Wizz Air has announced more weekly services on the existing services to Brussels Charleroi (from three to four times weekly), Eindhoven (from four to five times weekly), London Luton (from seven to 11 times weekly) and Milan Bergamo (from seven to 10 times weekly), while the aircraft will also support the summer operation of the earlier announced Dubai route, scheduled to commence on 29-Oct-2013, and a new route to Malmo which will be operated twice weekly from 16-May-2014. Wizz Air CCO György Abrán said, "At Wizz Air we are committed to the Bulgarian market and the development of the infrastructure of low cost air travel. Recently we have announced routes to Larnaca, Kiev and Dubai and today we are adding the Scandinavian link to Malmo. We clearly see that Bulgarian consumers are as enthusiastic about our low fares as millions of Wizz Air passengers in Europe and beyond and in response to the high demand for Wizz Air’s low fares I am thrilled to announce a new aircraft to our Sofia base. This will stimulate job growth and benefit consumers as we look forward to bringing more low fares to Bulgaria.” [more - original PR]
Wizz Air grows Bulgarian fleet, fourth A320 for Sofia Airport
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On 3-Apr-2017 LOT launched its longest direct service, between Warsaw and Los Angeles, deploying Boeing 787-8 aircraft. Los Angeles is LOT’s fourth North American destination and its first regular service to any US west coast destination. It is also the only direct flight anywhere between Central Europe and the US west coast. Warsaw-Newark and Krakow-Chicago route launches will follow later in summer 2017.
As it is with its other long haul routes, which also include three Asian destinations, LOT is aiming the new LA service not only at O&D traffic from Warsaw, but also squarely at passengers travelling to Southern California from across the Central European region. LOT is the only significant long haul operator in the region and the only one serving Los Angeles. Its Warsaw Chopin hub is the only airport between Vienna and Moscow with more than 1,000 long haul flights per year.
On short/medium haul, competition from LCCs Ryanair and Wizz Air is intense. Both have more seat capacity in Poland than LOT, whose new unbundled fare structure reflects the need to adopt some of their tactics. Long haul, where there is far less competition for LOT, is set to remain its strategic growth priority.
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Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.