Budget carrier Wizz Air has added four new routes from Gatwick to the 14 already announced for launch this spring and summer.
Wizz Air will operate from Gatwick to Venice five days a week and Palermo twice a week from late March and add two destinations in Bulgaria from mid-June, with five services a week to Varna and four to Burgas.
The carrier will also increase frequencies on its recently announced routes to Larnaca, Milan and Vienna from Gatwick.
The expansion will extend Wizz Air’s network from Gatwick to 25 destinations this summer following the carrier’s acquisition of 15 pairs of slots formerly held by Norwegian Air Shuttle.
Wizz has been lobbying for the lifting of the pandemic-era waiver on use-it-or-lose-it slot rules at Gatwick and other major UK airports as it seeks to expand.
The carrier welcomed the UK government’s decision, announced on January 24, to adjust the airport slots use ratio to 70:30 for the summer season, noting in a statement that it intends to “fully utilise these slots at maximum capacity”.
Marion Geoffroy, Wizz Air UK managing director, said: “Today marks another important step in our expansion at Gatwick, following our acquisition of new slots.
“We have continued to call for the full reinstatement of the 80:20 slot usage rules and welcome the government’s recent decision to adjust the ratio to 70:30 so we can continue to take up new market opportunities.”
Geoffroy also hailed the government’s lifting of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated arrivals to the UK from February 11 as “a major step forward”.
Wizz Air UK already has services on sale from Gatwick to Faro, Palma, Funchal and Tel Aviv from late March and to Larnaca, Chania, Mykonos, Catania and Podgorica from early April.
In addition, Wizz Air Hungary will operate services to and from Gatwick from Milan, Rome, Vienna, Bari and Naples from late March.
Wizz confirmed on December 22 that it had acquired 15 daily slot pairs at Gatwick for an undisclosed sum and would base an additional four A321neo aircraft at the airport, expanding its Gatwick-based fleet to five.
Luton remains the carrier’s principal UK base. Wizz Air launched from Gatwick in October 2020 and currently bases just one aircraft at the airport operating to Malaga and Athens.