Feature dimage: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

4/20/2015: Wizz Air Ukraine Suspends Operations

DALLAS — Today, in 2015, the Ukrainian subsidiary of the Hungarian low cost carrier Wizz Air (W6), Wizz Air Ukraine (WU), ceased operations.

Wizz Air Ukraine commenced operations with a single Airbus A320 on July 11, 2008, from its Kyiv International Airport (IEV) base. Initially, the airline served seven domestic routes, including flights to Lviv (LWO) and Donetsk (DOK).

The latter became WU's second base in October 2013. It launched four new international routes with a single based Airbus A320. The DOK base was closed in April 2014 following the escalating war in the Donbas region.

Airbus A320 UR-WUA was one of four aircraft in the WU fleet. It would become HA-LYU when it was returned to the W6 fleet. Photo: Ole Simon GFDL 1.2 via Wikimedia Commons

Growth

Despite this setback, WU added further A320s, growing its fleet to four. It also boosted passenger numbers at IEV by over 600,000 per year and carried over one million passengers from both IEV and DOK. Indeed, the airline had planned for further expansion, saying: "As long as low costs are offered, Wizz Air Ukraine expects to grow further in Kyiv and Donetsk,"

However, amidst a struggling economic environment and the devaluation of the local currency, W6 announced it would be closing down its WU subsidiary in early 2015. Stricter aviation regulations had also been imposed by the country's government which saw domestic flights limited to the country's flag-carrier Ukraine International Airlines (PS).

Photo: Airbus

Relaunch?

In November 2018, W6 announced it was contemplating the relaunch of its Ukrainian subsidiary. Then-President Petro Poroshenko and W6 CEO József Váradi met to discuss the possible re-establishment. A fleet of 20 A320/A321 would be based across the country with an investment of over US$2.5 billion.

Sadly, the plans remain on the drawing board and with the ongoing Russian invasion it seems unlikely this will change anytime soon.

The featured image shows WU's fleet of four A320s that were reabsorbed into the W6 fleet.

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