Wizz Air eyes Kaliningrad as Russian base location

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Wizz Air is considering setting up a Russian operating base at Kaliningrad Khrabrovo airport with help from local authorities.

The low-cost carrier's executive vice-president John Stephenson has discussed the matter with Kaliningrad regional governor Nikolai Tsukanov.

Russia's westernmost enclave "is on the list of regions which we're looking at from the standpoint of broadening our route network and opening a new base", he says. "We'll continue this work with a view to taking concrete steps in that direction."

Tsukanov says the regional administration is interested in attracting foreign low-cost carriers to Kaliningrad and promoting Khrabrovo airport as an entry point to the country's hinterland.

"There are some regulatory restrictions though," admits Stephenson. "But I believe they could be eased in our common interests. We'll count on support from the local government in that respect.”

Kaliningrad administration intends to resolve the existing legal issues through negotiations with the federal transport ministry, says Tsukanov, expecting Wizz Air to submit a conceptual business plan for the project shortly.

"Setting up a local base will enable us to link Kaliningrad with our European route network and mainland Russia," says Stephenson.