Wizz Air, a low-cost airline based in Hungary, has announced that it will temporarily suspend all flights to and from Moldova. The decision was made due to a dispute between the airline and the Moldovan government over new regulations that would require airlines to operate flights only from the country’s main airport.
Background on the Dispute
The Moldovan government recently passed new regulations that would require all airlines operating in the country to use only the main international airport in the capital city, Chisinau. Wizz Air, however, had been operating flights from both Chisinau and a regional airport in the city of Tiraspol, which is located in the breakaway region of Transnistria.
Wizz Air argues that the new regulations are discriminatory and that they unfairly favor the state-owned airline, Air Moldova, which only operates flights from Chisinau. The airline also claims that the regulations violate Moldova’s obligations under the Open Skies Agreement, which aims to promote competition and liberalize the air transport market.
Impact on Passengers
The suspension of Wizz Air’s flights is likely to have a significant impact on passengers traveling to and from Moldova, especially during the upcoming summer travel season. The airline operates flights to several European destinations, including London, Paris, Berlin, and Milan.
Passengers who have already booked flights with Wizz Air will be offered a refund or the option to rebook their flights with another airline. However, it is unclear how long the suspension will last, and passengers may face higher fares and limited options for alternative flights.
Reaction from Wizz Air and Moldovan Government
In a statement, Wizz Air criticized the Moldovan government’s decision to implement the new regulations and called for them to be revoked. The airline also expressed its disappointment at having to suspend its flights and apologized to its customers for the inconvenience caused.
The Moldovan government, on the other hand, defended its decision, stating that it was necessary to ensure the safety and security of passengers and to improve the efficiency of air transport operations in the country.
The suspension of Wizz Air’s flights to Moldova is a significant blow to the country’s air transport industry and may have a negative impact on its economy, which relies heavily on tourism. The dispute between Wizz Air and the Moldovan government highlights the challenges faced by low-cost airlines operating in a highly regulated and competitive market. It remains to be seen whether the two parties will be able to resolve their differences and restore air connectivity to Moldova.