First of two new routes
Wizz Air gets big ‘thumbs up’ for new routes
Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, has launched the first of two exciting new routes from Belfast International Airport.
Belfast-Katowice in south western Poland commenced operations today, and will be followed on the 22nd April by Belfast-Vilnius in Lithuania.
The inaugural out-bound flight to the thriving Polish city where Wizz Air began life in 2004 was fully booked. The airline will operate a twice weekly service to both cities with fares starting as low as £39.99.
Wizz Air last year carried almost 16 million passengers, up 17% on the previous year, and operates a network of 360 routes from 20 bases.
Wizz Air’s Daniel de Carvalho said: “We know there’s a substantial Polish community living in Northern Ireland, and there has been considerable interest in our new route. At the other end, Katowice is a major business and industrial centre with a population of 2.7 million people, which means there’s ample scope to develop tourism.”
Welcoming Wizz Air to Northern Ireland the Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said: “Wizz Air’s new air routes to the Baltic States is a welcome development in Northern Ireland’s air connectivity.
“After my second visit to Estonia last week, to build business ties and advance digital collaboration with the Estonian Government, I can see the economic potential more direct flights to Eastern Europe can bring.
“Belfast International Airport is to be congratulated for securing Wizz Air’s two new routes and this increased air connectivity has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits for Northern Ireland by helping to boost trade, increase foreign direct investment and promote our appeal as a tourist destination.”
Northern Ireland Polish Consul, Jerome Mullen, said the Katowice link would reinforce ties and hoped it would lead to new opportunities opening up.
Mr Mullen said: “There are 30,000 Polish people living and working in Northern Ireland and like us, they are close-knit, family-orientated people. For 30,000, read a wider family network of about 150,000, and that’s the scale of the visitor opportunity. I wish Wizz and Belfast International well in this latest and welcome development.”
Belfast International Airport, Graham Keddie, said: “Wizz, in its distinctive purple and pink livery, is a most welcome addition to our airport. Wizz is a young, forward-looking airline with lots of energy and I have every reason to believe that Katowice and Vilnius will be outstanding successes. There’s ample scope to develop new routes and I know Wizz is looking at other new routes that are currently not served from Northern Ireland.”
Photo: Wizz Air’s Beata Stefan is joined by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton and Airport managing director Graham Keddie to celebrate Wizz Air’s inaugural flight from Belfast to Katowice, Poland. Natalie Jarmolinska and Katarzyna Laczny join in the fun.