Hungarian Wizz Air overtakes struggling SkyEurope

2009 augusztus 20 7:31 de.2 hozzászólás

Christopher Adam

Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air has now clearly overtaken its main regional rival, Slovakia’s SkyEurope. Once Eastern Europe’s largest discount airline, SkyEurope has failed to turn a profit since its founding in 2002 and was forced to file for creditor protection in June 2009. Since then, the Slovak carrier’s woes have only gotten worse. The carrier failed to reach a deal with Vienna’s Schwechat Airport last Friday, which led to the cancellation of all flights from SkyEurope’s Central European hub. SkyEurope reportedly has a significant outstanding debt with airports in both Vienna and Prague and as such, Schwechat has decided to stop servicing all SkyEurope flights.

In an effort to stop the carrier from going under, SkyEurope has transferred all of its Vienna-based flights to Bratislava’s Letisko M. R. Štefánik Airport and passengers are being offered free coach service from Vienna. Despite these efforts and the relatively short 59km distance between the two hubs, the majority of SkyEurope passengers are experiencing lengthy delays.

SkyEurope is no longer speculating when or if it will be able to resume flights from its Vienna base. “We will operate Vienna flights from Bratislava in the days to come,” said SkyEurope spokesperson, Tomas Kika. “Shifting flights (to Bratislava) is a temporary solution, we are working on coming to an agreement with the Austrian airport as soon as possible,” Kika added.

But SkyEurope faces daunting challenges. The low-cost carrier’s passenger traffic declined by 37 percent in July. Additionally, SkyEurope’s losses between October 2008 and March 2009 topped €31 million.

Hungary’s Wizz Air, however, has decided to offer stranded or inconvenienced SkyEurope passengers a lending hand, while also capitalizing from its rival’s woes. Wizz Air is offering heavily discounted prices to all passengers with SkyEurope tickets for flights that were supposed to have departed from Vienna. The Hungarian carrier seems to be flying high and has decided to order an additional 50 Airbus A-320 aircraft, as well as open up a new base in Bratislava. In contrast, SkyEurope has been forced to close bases in recent years, including at Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport.

2 hozzászólás

  • Dear Readers,

    Ryanair is and will be the BIG Player in Bratislava, Wizz can focus on Prague and Budapest and certainly on its other bases…

  • T,

    Wizz will be the BIG Player in Bratislava. Ryanair can focus on UK and its other bases…