Wizz Air withdraws all flights and operations from Cardiff Airport

Cardiff is the second UK base closure in 12 months for the Hungarian airline. Credit: PA

Wizz Air is withdrawing from Cardiff Airport amid "challenging macro-economic environment" and "high operational costs".

Having made the decision last September to cancel most of its operations at Cardiff Airport over the winter, the airline had intended to return this spring for a new summer season with a continuation of eight scheduled services.

However, the Hungarian airline has today announced it will not be continuing its base operation as intended.

Cardiff Airport has said it is "surprised" and "deeply disappointed" to hear the announcement.

Wizz Air launched its base at Cardiff Airport in April last year.

A spokesperson for the Rhoose-based airport said: "It is regrettable that Wizz Air has cited the economic climate as its reasons for withdrawing its operations out of Cardiff. There has been positive booking trends and very strong passenger demand to travel from Cardiff in 2022 and current booking trends for 2023 remains similar.

"We have been working closely with the airline since 2020 and their latest indications to uslast week, were that bookings for this summer are ahead of this time last year, so we seetheir decision as surprising.

They added: "Our thoughts are with our customers who are impacted by this news and now face disruption to their travel plans for this year, along with our friends and colleagues that are employed by Wizz Air based at Cardiff.

Cardiff Airport has reassured that four of their existing airlines are still planning operations from Cardiff to all the destinations that Wizz were selling tickets to and are encouraging customers who had booked on Wizz this year, to consider an alternative choice to fly to their chosen destinations from Cardiff.

Cardiff is the second UK base closure in 12 months for the Hungarian airline with Doncaster Sheffield closing last year.

In a statement, Wizz Air UK managing director Marion Geoffroy said: “The challenging macro-economic environment and high operational costs including fuel mean that unfortunately we are unable to continue operating from Cardiff airport.

“We sincerely apologise to our customers in Wales and the south west of England for the disruption and inconvenience that this will cause.

 “Our priority now is to ensure that all affected customers are contacted directly with clear advice on their options, and to look after our Cardiff based colleagues and crew.

“Wizz Air continues to offer low fares from eight other UK airports, including Bristol, Birmingham, London Gatwick, and London Luton.

The low-cost airline launched its operations at the Welsh Government-owned airport in April last year, allowing Welsh travellers to board flights to destinations including Alicante in Spain, Faro in Portugal, Larnaca in Cyprus and Tenerife.

Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies said it is “another blow” to the taxpayer owned airport.

Mr Davies said: “The loss of Wizz Air flights and their routes to Milan and Bucharest is yet another blow to the taxpayer-owned Cardiff Airport...

“Passenger numbers at Cardiff are down 44% on pre-pandemic levels, while Bristol Airport is down just 5%. We all want to see the airport thrive, but Labour’s approach is clearly failing.”

The Welsh Government said its Covid recovery plan remains in place, but the current economic climate is "incredibly tough for the aviation sector."