Wizz Air enters Baltic fray with Vilnius base

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Central European budget carrier Wizz Air is to establish a new operating base, in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, and open eight new routes.

Vilnius has been a battleground since the collapse of the main Lithuanian airlines, and routes have been snapped up by neighbouring Air Baltic and Estonian Air.

Wizz Air is to station a single Airbus A320 in Vilnius and open services to London Luton, Rome Fiumicino, Milan Bergamo, Barcelona, Stockholm Skavsta, Cork, Eindhoven and Doncaster-Sheffield.

All the routes will become available in April 2011. The decision will take the number of Wizz bases in Europe to 14.

"Beyond further enhancing the travel opportunities in the Lithuanian market, we will create hundreds of local jobs and significant revenue uplift for the local tourism industry," says Wizz chief Jozsef Varadi.

Wizz operates a fleet of 34 A320s. It has 12 bases but will open another in Belgrade in April.