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Expansion in Riga and Vilnius

Wizz Air puts Air Baltic under pressure

The Hungarian low-cost airline is not only expanding in Western Europe. Wizz Air is stationing two additional jets in the Baltics - putting Latvian Air Baltic under pressure.

Vilnius Airport/Facebook

Wizz Air aircraft at Vilnius Airport.

Although Air Baltic’s home country is Latvia, it likes to emphasise its overall Baltic identity. In August 2019, for example, the airline presented an Airbus A220 bearing the name of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in the national colours of Lithuania.

However, competitor Wizz Air is now expanding in both Vilnius and Riga – the home base of Air Baltic. Last week, the Hungarian low-cost carrier announced that it would station a second aircraft in Riga. This comes while Wizz Air is also increasing its presence in Western Europe.

One more aircraft for each city

With the additional Airbus A320, the Hungarian airline will add service to seven new destinations from Riga: Bergen and Trondheim in Norway, Birmingham in the UK, Billund in Denmark, Hamburg in Germany, Reykjavik in Iceland and Stockholm Skavsta in Sweden. In total, the airline will offer 15 routes from Riga to ten countries.

Last week saw an announcement for Vilnius, where Wizz Air will increase its fleet from two to three jets and offer five new destinations: Birmingham, Liverpool, Hamburg, Stockholm Skavsta and Trondheim. Wizz will then serve 24 routes to 14 countries form the Lithuanian capital city.

Different balance of power in Riga and Vilnius

In Riga, Air Baltic still holds by far the largest market share: it has 68 destinations of its own to compete with Wizz Air’s 15 destinations. However, six of the seven new Wizz destinations are already served by Air Baltic – a clear challenge. In Vilnius, the balance of power is different: the 24 Wizz destinations are matched by only ten direct flights operated by Air Baltic.

In wake of the announcements for Riga and Vilnius, Wizz Air also confirmed three new destinations from Estonia’s capital Tallinn: Bergen, Trondheim and Oslo Sandefjord Torp in Norway. This brings the total number of its destinations from Tallinn to nine, while Air Baltic flies to 13.

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