Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Wizz celebrates Varna success and complain to the EU over French ATC strikes.

Wizz Air, Bulgaria’s largest airline and the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, recently celebrated its first year of operations at its Varna base, which also saw the airline carry more than a million passengers to and from the beautiful black sea resort. 

The Varna base employes more than 40 direct jobs, and scores of others indirectly that support the growing route network, which currently amounts to 9 routes, in 8 countries and 29 weekly flights.  Wizz Air started its operations in Bulgaria 13 years ago and since then, has continuously invested in its ever-growing network. Wizz Air, Bulgaria’s leading airline has 8 based aircraft in the country, one in Varna and seven in Sofia. 

Owain Jones, Chief Corporate Officer of Wizz Air, said, "Varna is a special city for me.  I was here to announce our base in 2016, I was here to celebrate the opening of the base in 2017 and now today I’m delighted to be with the Varna team as we celebrate one year of operations of our Varna base as well as carrying more than 1 million customers to and from the city." 

The airline has recently made adjustments to its growth forecast for this year, bringing it down due to anticipated disruptions if strikes by air traffic controllers across Europe to continue into autumn. 

Wizz Air also joined forces with a number of other airlines and submitted complaints to the European Commission against France as its air traffic controllers’ strikes restrict the fundamental principle of freedom of movement within the EU.

The other airlines included International Airlines Group (IAG- owners of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia), Ryanair and easyJet.  The airlines say they are not questioning the right to strike but believe France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes. The airlines say passengers on overflights are being denied their fundamental freedom to travel between member states not affected by strike action. So far this year, French ATC strikes have increased by 300 per cent compared to last year.

József Váradi, Wizz Air’s chief executive, said: “The failure of French air traffic control authorities to ensure a continued and adequate service has already caused massive disruption to the travel plans of thousands of passengers across Europe, with airlines left to pick up the pieces. Addressing this issue must be a priority for the European authorities to ensure European citizens and businesses are no longer held hostage to national industrial relations issues.”

The airlines would like to enjoy the right to fly over France even if the nations ATC staff were on strike, regardless of the safety implications such overflights could cause.