Belfast Telegraph

Wizz Air celebrates 'major investment' as base opens at Luton airport

Low-cost European airline Wizz Air has hailed a "major investment in the UK" as it shrugged off Brexit uncertainties to open its first British base at Luton airport .

The central and eastern European carrier, which is listed in London, said the move would see it offer three new services to Tel Aviv in Israel, Pristina in Kosovo and Kutaisi in Georgia - taking its operations to 42 routes from Luton.

It will offer the only direct connection between Kutaisi and the UK, while it will also be able to increase the number of flights to some of its most popular destinations in Romania.

The new Luton base is creating 36 jobs with the airline and will increase its seats on sale from the airport to almost 6.3 million this year, up 13% on 2016.

Owain Jones, chief corporate officer at Wizz Air, said: "We are proud to celebrate the opening of the first Wizz base in the UK at London Luton Airport.

"Wizz Air's very first flight in 2004 was to London Luton and, since then, we have carried 30 million passengers on our low fare routes from the airport, stimulating the local tourism and aviation industries while strengthening business partnerships between the UK and Central Eastern Europe."

The airline's move to launch a base in the UK comes as rivals such as Ryanair have said they will redirect investment away from the UK due to Brexit uncertainty.

Wizz Air last month posted a 28% surge in profits to a record 246 million euros (£213 million) in the year to March 31 and said it had seen no signs of "demand weakness" on routes to and from the UK, despite the Brexit vote.

The profits came in better than feared after Wizz Air warned in February over a hit from an intense price war and weather disruption.