Wizz Air eyes greater expansion in London as it picks up Monarch's Luton slots

 
Rebecca Smith
The airline has been ramping up London expansion
The airline has been ramping up London expansion (Source: Wizz Air)

Hungarian airline Wizz Air has secured a number of take-off and landing slots at Luton from collapsed airline Monarch.

It announced today it will add two aircraft to its fleet at London Luton, taking its total at the airport to seven, saying more routes will be unveiled in due course.

Read more: British Airways owner snaps up Monarch Gatwick slots

The news comes after British Airways owner IAG confirmed it had picked up Gatwick slots from Monarch earlier this week. The Luton and Gatwick slots together are believed to be worth in the region of £60m.

The sale by Monarch administrator KPMG came off the back of a Court of Appeal ruling giving KPMG the right to sell Monarch's slots.

Administrator Blair Nimmo said the IAG sale represented an "excellent recovery for creditors from one of Monarch Airlines' significant assets".

Today, Wizz Air's chief executive, József Váradi, said: “Following the announcements of establishing Wizz Air UK and our accelerated growth plan, just a few days ago here we go again.

"Acquiring airport slots and airport nightstands at Luton Airport will enable us to enhance our presence and competitive position in the London market."

He added:

While Brexit will certainly pose challenges to the airline industry, we see it as an opportunity for Wizz Air, as our highly efficient low fare model will prevail even more under the new circumstances.

The low-cost carrier announced plans to bolster its operations at its base in the capital earlier this month, unveiling five new routes to Cyprus, Slovakia, Ukraine, Estonia and Albania.

Wizz Air has been looking to shore up its UK presence, after opening its base at London Luton in June this year. Last month it announced it will set up a UK subsidiary in order to guarantee its flights in the UK after Brexit.

The Monarch boost means Wizz Air will increase its capacity in Luton 18 per cent year over year, to a total of 7.1m seats in 2018.

It expects another 70 members of staff coming on board, taking the total number of local jobs created in the last year to 250.

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