Wizz Air has unveiled plans to set up its first base in Britain at London's Luton airport, a move which is expected to create approximately 36 new jobs.
The low-cost airline, which focuses mainly on destinations in eastern and central Europe, said Luton will become its 28th base and will be open on 18 June this year. The FTSE 250-listed airline is the second-largest carrier at the Bedfordshire-based airport, from where it has flown out for the last 12 years, and establishing the base will increase the number of routes being served from the airport to 42.
"By establishing base operations at London Luton, where Wizz is already the second largest operator and an important supporter of local jobs with our business partners, we are also creating direct local jobs with one of Europe's fastest-growing airlines for the first time," said group chief executive József Váradi.
The three new routes will serve Tel Aviv in Israel, Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo, and Kutaisi in Georgia, which is the only direct connection between Georgia and the UK. Tel Aviv will be served by four weekly flights from 24 June, while Prishtina and Kutaisi will be connected with the UK by two flights a week, starting from the 24 and 18 June respectively.
Wizz Air's UK network consists of 83 routes to 42 destinations from nine airports and last year the airline carried over 6.6 million passengers on its UK routes, five million of which flew to and from Luton airport.
The carrier said it expects the number of passengers from its London base to grow 13% year-on-year in 2017.
Earlier this month, Wizz Air cut its full-year profit forecast on the back of adverse weather and lower fuel prices.
The latter issue, the airline said, will continue to translate into lower air fares well into the current year, while extreme cold weather across Europe this winter has hampered its operations across the continent.
The carrier lowered its profit guidance for the full year from €245m (£209.5m) – €255m to between €225 and €235m.