Temporary halt in Ryanair’s Race to the Bottom: Wizzair and it’s Tent City at Budapest Airport.

timthumbIn the past week, Hungary and Ukraine’s low-cost carrier WizzAir, in order to cut costs, took up an invitation from Budapest Airport to no longer pay for buses to move passengers to the plane from the terminal. Instead a WizzAir ‘tent city’ was erected where passengers waited to board their flight. This follows on from RyanAir’s insistence that passengers walk across the apron to board their flights.

Desperate stuff really.

Customers responded by complaining bitterly about this forcing WizzAir to reverse course.

In a typical piece of corporate spin, Daniel de Carvalho, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air, said: “Wizz Air is always open to work with its airport partners to ensure lower costs and lower airfares. Just seven months ago Wizz Air agreed to move from Terminal 1 at Budapest to Terminal 2, to help the airport lowering its own operational costs. We certainly welcome the airport’s commitment to find new ways to lower costs by suggesting different boarding procedures and Wizz Air happily tested these and collected passenger’s opinion. On behalf of our passengers  we cannot accept substandard facilities such as those currently in place at Budapest Airport, that effectively leave passengers in the cold waiting to board their aircraft with no access to sanitation nor adequate protection of adverse weather conditions. We do not compromise on these standards and until a much improved customer friendly solution is proposed by the airport, Wizz Air will provide a bus service for its passengers to and from the aircraft.” 

Looks like WizzAir was trying to pass the buck on to Budapest Airport. The latter is desperate for funds after the loss of its hub carrier, Malév Hungarian Airlines, last year. Other desperate moves from BUD included no longer offering free priority security screening – forcing passengers to pay 7 euros to bypass the lines (unless the airline they are flying with pay BUD for their passengers).

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