WizzAir unveils new Riga hub

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Hungarian budget airline WizzAir opened its new hub at Riga International Airport (RIX) on Thursday, becoming the first foreign carrier to establish a formal base and ramping up competition in the commercial aviation industry.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Riga International Airport director Aldis Murnieks described the arrival of WizzAir in Riga as “a win-win for both the airline and airport, promising new destinations, new jobs for local people and much more foreign tourism.”

György Abrán, Chief Commercial Officer at WizzAir, said: "I am delighted to open WizzAir’s 17th operating low-cost base... This is an important milestone for our presence in the Latvian market.”

Airport spokeswoman Sarmite Rinmane said WizzAir would base one Airbus A-320 aircraft in Riga permanently, staffed with a Latvian-speaking, locally-hired crew. 22 new jobs have already been created, with more hiring expected. 

Three new destinations are being rolled out immediately: Paris Beauvais in France, Doncaster Sheffield in the United Kingdom and Barcelona El Prat in Spain.

Another route to Dortmund in Germany is scheduled to launch on August 31, while WizzAir will also add flights to its existing routes to Oslo Torp in Norway and London Luton in the UK.

Rival airlines Ryanair and Latvia’s national carrier AirBaltic downplayed the new entry to the market, saying they did not expect WizzAir's move to prompt any significant changes in the airline sector.

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