Wizz Air gradually leaves Rīga International Airport

Take note – story published 1 year ago

Several years ago, one of Europe's largest cheap-ticket airlines, Wizz Air, offered a wide range of destinations from Riga airport. The situation has changed now, with the airline leaving Riga airport gradually, Latvian Television reported on June 11.

Between 2015 and 2020, the Wizz Air market share at Riga airport was around 8 to 9 percent. The situation has changed at the moment. And while the airline is still the third largest at the Rīga airport, its passenger market share was under four percent in the first quarter of this year.

It is expected to fall further, as Wizz Air has announced that it will close its penultimate route from Riga by autumn.

Aviation expert, marketing and communication director of Girteka Logistics Simonas Bartkus told LTV that Wizz Air has already stopped performing most flights in Latvia. “They only had two routes left in the summer. From Riga to London Luton and to Kutaisi. When they end their flights to London this October, the flight to Kutaisi will be the only Wizz Air route from Latvia,” Bartkus said.

As a potential reason for such action, the aviation expert mentions the great competition in Riga, which distinguishes it, for example, from the two major airports in Lithuania – Vilnius and Kaunas.

“airBaltic is very actively attacking all its rivals, who are trying to strengthen themselves at Riga airport. It's a natural step from the side of the national and base carrier. They usually try to protect their markets on all routes. Similarly, Ryanair is very strong in Riga. Being third is very difficult because the size of the market is limited,” Bartkus said.

The airline replied in writing to questions about the gradual leaving of Riga airport:

“Wizz Air is represented in the Baltic States despite the slower development the company is experiencing compared to other markets. Wizz Air, as a dynamic airline, is constantly exploring and looking for new routes. At the moment, however, the airline is focused on maintaining existing routes. "

Riga Airport explains that the number of their destinations will not be affected by Wizz Air's leaving.

Ilze Salna, representative of Riga airport, said that, in terms of destinations, the airport has returned to the pre-pandemic level with around 100 destinations during the summer season. “The number of airlines working at the airport – 15, 16, 17 – is about the same as before the pandemic,” Salna said.

The entry of a new low-cost carrier on the Baltic market is unlikely, said aviation expert Bartkus. Bartkus expects that Norwegian, which is already in operation, could increase its market share in Riga in the coming years.

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