Wizz Air becomes first European airline to restore passenger flights

Wizz Air Airbus A321 Photo by Max Sutter | AeroNewsX

Hungarian low-cost carrier, Wizz Air has become one of the first airlines in Europe to resume international commercial flights, operating to 15 destinations.

The largest low-cost carrier in Central and Eastern Europe resumed flight operations on the 1st of May, however, with “several additional security measures to support physical distancing.” The carrier is the first airline in Europe to resume passenger flights, with many airlines only operating cargo or charter flights up until now. The news comes as many airlines have introduced voluntary redundancies, as summer season demand falls across Europe. But with Wizz Air resuming flights this may highlight the possibility for other carriers to do the same in the coming weeks. The airline is one of the first carriers to commence commercial routes from Luton airport after reopening its London base on Friday. Some of the flights that were operated that day were to destinations such as Budapest in Hungary, Belgrade in Serbia and Sofia in Bulgaria. The Chief Executive of Wizz Air, József Váradi, said that the airline would operate “to 15 destinations, including Tenerife and Lisbon, from Friday with plans to fly all its planes by the end of the year.” The airline also plans to resume flights, subject to no further restrictions, to several European destinations, including Romania, Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. In an effort to protect the welfare of their customers, the airline requires all passengers travelling to wear face masks and to keep their distance during boarding. The airline will also provide gloves and masks to all its cabin crew. The carrier outlined in a statement that sanitising wipes would be distributed to each passenger in an effort to keep the aircraft clean.

Managing Director of Wizz Air UK, Owain Jones said: "As we restart selected Luton flights to provide an essential service to passengers who need to travel, our primary concern is the health, safety and well-being of our customers and crew. The protective measures that we are implementing will ensure the most sanitary conditions possible."

The airline stated that “throughout the flight, cabin crew will be required to wear masks and gloves." The airline is also allowing onboard purchases to be made, suggesting that contactless payment be used, to minimise physical contact. The airline said it will continue to follow official guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will ensure a stringent daily cleaning schedule is maintained, with entire aircraft being disinfected overnight. It remains to be seen whether these types of air travel restrictions can be maintained, especially the boarding and disembarking of aircraft. Although, with Wizz Air resuming flights, there is hope that the European aviation may resume, albeit at a gradual pace. The true question is whether the aviation industry will be able to adapt to this new normal.

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