Growing budget carrier Wizz Air has ruled out becoming a fully-fledged tour operator after it registered its UK airline.
The Hungarian airline received its UK air operating certificate in May, with Wizz Air UK becoming a subsidiary of Wizz Air Holdings.
The move was originally a Brexit contingency plan but the airline has since decided it will be the platform for further growth in the UK, where it is now the 8th biggest carrier.
Rival airlines have in-house tour operations, with packages created with flights from their airlines. They include Jet2holidays, which sells through travel agents and direct-sell easyJet holidays and Ryanair Holidays. Long-haul carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both also have holidays divisions.
But Wizz Air has ruled out following suit, with chief executive József Váradi questioning the model of vertically integrated tour operators at a media dinner ahead of the AOC being granted.
The company has now confirmed it will not move into the package holiday market.
A spokesman told Travel Weekly: “Wizz Air, like every other airline in Europe is preparing for the upcoming Package Travel Directive changes, put forward by the European Union. While we are looking into certain options of incorporating select tour operator features into our business, at this point we do not anticipate to become a full-fledged tour operator company in the same way as Ryanair Sun, for example, which exclusively focuses on charter like operations.
“For several years now, We have a sister company in Wizz Tours, which is a fully established tour operator packaging flight and hotel deals, available for bookings both via its own and Wizz Air sales channels.”
With new package travel regulations coming in this summer, which will mean ‘flight-plus’ packages will be relabelled ‘package sale – multiple contract’, complicating Atol rules for airlines selling flights alongside hotels.