Wizz Air is to expand its UK operation with another pair of Airbus A321s next year, supporting a network expansion from London Luton.
The airline has nine Airbus jets stationed at Luton but will take this to 11 over the course of June-July 2019, says Wizz Air UK managing director Owain Jones.
Speaking during a briefing in London on 17 December, Jones added that the UK operation will further enhance capacity by replacing one of its five A320s with an A321.
Wizz Air UK will open six new services – to Oslo, Bergen, Porto, Catania, Turku and Thessaloniki – during the summer of 2019.
It is also lifting frequencies on routes including Athens, Larnaca, Tirana, Chisinau, Constanta and Suceava.
The expansion will amount to 22% growth from Luton, year-on-year, and means Wizz will be the largest operator at the airport in terms of seat capacity.
Wizz slashed its UK growth forecast two years ago, following the UK referendum decision to withdraw from the European Union.
But Jones says that, while the UK regions showed weakness, London has proven to be “resilient”, allowing the carrier to put capacity back into the market.
He says that growth of 15% is “sustainable”, adding: “We’ve always seen Wizz as a 15% growth business.”
Wizz Air UK also operates from London Gatwick, and Jones says the company has considered other airports.
But he states: “Having Luton as a fortress is a good position to be in.”
While he acknowledges that there is a “squeeze” for apron space at the airport, Jones says the carrier has acquired a couple of new stands to help alleviate the issue.
Wizz Air UK has yet to be allocated any of the broader group’s A320neo-family jets.
Jones says Wizz Air’s Budapest operation – which has a key maintenance facility – will be the first to receive the re-engined variant, in March next year, and the company will be introducing them in “blocks” at specific bases.