Luton praised by Wizz Air chief

Owain Jones
Owain Jones

The chief operating officer of Wizz Air has praised Luton as a great place for business after the airline announced a new base at the airport this summer, writes Stewart Carr.

Owain Jones was in Luton last month following the announcement of a UK base for the company at London Luton Airport.

Mr Jones said; “We will be setting up our first operating base in the UK at London Luton Airport in June of this year.

“At the moment we’re flying five million passengers a year from Luton. That’s a third of the total, so we’re on the cusp of being the largest operator in Luton – on some months, we’re even bigger than easyJet.”

Wizz Air is based in Budapest and offers low-cost travel journeys to a variety of destinations in central and eastern Europe, travelling as far as Georgia.

It is understood that the Luton operation supports over 3,500 jobs in the area.

Mr Jones said: “Luton Airport has been the steadiest part of the Wizz Air growth story. Since 2004 Luton has been the [UK} foundation.

“It’s a very efficient airport and we operate very efficient schedules.”

One of Luton Airport’s trump cards is apparently its ability to offer a quick turnaround – as little as 30 minutes for Wizz Air.

Asked about the impact of Brexit, Mr Jones said: “So far, it’s business as usual – there’s no change in demand.

“We can’t speculate what’s going to come about, nobody knows.

“We hope that common sense will prevail as there’s huge advantages to having a liberalised aviation industry in Europe.”

Mr Jones added that he was supportive of Luton Borough Council’s appeal to the prime minister to help secure a deal to protect the UK aviation industry.

He said: “Our current operating model has been very proficient for us.

“For us, that will be making sure we have the capacity to expand.”