Wizz Air makes Vilnius base #14 with one A320 and eight routes; Ryanair in nearby Kaunas provides competition

Jozsef Varadi steers Wizz to Vilnius and joins Ryanair in having a base in Lithuania. Ryanair considers Kaunas to be a succeeding alternative to Vilnius, so it will be interesting to see if Wizz decides to add directly competing destinations – it hasn’t yet.

Jozsef Varadi steers Wizz Air to Vilnius and joins Ryanair in having a base in Lithuania. Ryanair considers Kaunas to be an alternative to Vilnius, so Wizz Air's routes to London Luton and Milan Bergamo will provide indirect competition.

Last week, Wizz Air announced that Vilnius in Lithuania would become its 14th base from next April, with one new A320 being dedicated to the operation. A total of eight new routes generating 21 weekly departures will be served. Wizz Air joins Ryanair in having a base in Lithuania, with the Irish carrier having opened its base at Kaunas in May of this year. The airports at Vilnius and Kaunas are less than 100 kilometres apart, suggesting that Ryanair considers Kaunas an alternative to Vilnius. In the first eight months of 2010, passenger numbers at Vilnius are just over 960,000, while Kaunas has handled almost 500,000, which is more than it managed in the whole of 2009. A summary of the new Wizz Air routes and the competition faced is provided in the following table.

Destination Wizz Air
(weekly frequency)
Competition
from Vilnius (W10)
Competition
from Kaunas (W10)
Barcelona (BCN) 2    
Cork (ORK) 2 Aer Lingus to DUB Ryanair to DUB
Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA) 2    
Eindhoven (EIN) 2 Estonian Air to AMS  
London Luton (LTN) 5   Ryanair to LGW
Ryanair to LTN
Ryanair to STN
Milan Bergamo (BGY) 2   Ryanair to BGY
Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 3 airBaltic to FCO  
Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) 3 Estonian Air to ARN  
Source: Wizz Air, OAG Max Online for w/c 1 November 2010

Until recently, Star1, a Lithuanian carrier which launched operations in 2009, had been operating from Vilnius to both London Stansted and Milan Malpensa. However, the airline ceased operations at the beginning of October. Ryanair this summer also operated from Kaunas to Barcelona Girona, but does not (yet) appear to have it on sale for next summer.

Given that Barcelona and Stockholm Skavsta are Ryanair bases, it will be interesting to see if the carrier responds by starting its own services between Kaunas and these airports. Eindhoven, although not a base, is another airport at which Ryanair has a major presence.


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