Six operational bases; 19 aircraft for an investment of 100 million dollars each; 261 routes from Italy of 261 routes to 91 destinations in 33 countries. “And we’re only at the beginning,” he smiles George Michalopoulos Chief Commercial Officer di Wizz Air Group. Thursday the low cost airline of Hungarian origin founded in 2003 by Josef Varadi inaugurated its new operational base at Rome Fiumicino airport with 4 aircraft and 32 new connections. The fifth after Malpensa, Catania, Bari, Palermo.
And very soon Naples will also arrive. Not only. Two days ago the first direct flights departed from Linate to Bari and Brindisi. The Linate-Naples route will then debut from 1 August. To date, Wizz Air is the third largest airline in Italy, after Ryan Air and Alitalia. But the Hungarian company is not enough. “We aim to double our presence in the next 3 years – says Michalopoulos -: the Italian market has always been a very important market for us, already in 2004 the first flight to Katowice departed from Bergamo, and since then the company has Italy over 40 million passengers “.
But then the Coronavirus and the aviation sector came together with tourism it was the one that suffered the most from the pandemic economic crisis. Planes on the ground, thousands of jobs lost, companies gone bankrupt. Also in Italy. Where Air Italy is in liquidation and 1,400 workers on layoffs; Blue Panorama left the planes at a standstill for a year; and also Vueling and EasyJet between workers in cig and canceled flights have had their difficulties. Not to mention Alitalia, now destined to close forever to reopen more streamlined with the name of Ita.
«They are all spaces that have opened up and us – says Michalopoulos – we decided to invest rather than stop: we bought new planes with an average age of less than a year, created new routes, even in places where no low cost has ever gone, we took risks, but this is the our business “. The Italian domestic market, he explains, “is the safest today, but the Green Pass (in force since yesterday, ed) will also give a big boost to the whole of Europe, we are optimistic”. The route of dreams? “Connecting Milan and Rome with Abu Dhabi”.