Source: Simple Flying
Just days after news broke that Wizz Air would defy current European conventions and start flying to Moscow again, the airline is extending another olive branch to Ukrainians who might be less than impressed at Wizz resuming Moscow flights. Wizz Air is providing an extra 100,000 free tickets to Ukrainian citizens between mid-September and early December for travel across Europe and the United Kingdom.
Wizz Air is having it both ways here. It wants the feel-good buzz (and publicity) of helping out stranded Ukrainians but is resuming operations to the capital of the country that started the conflict
More free tickets for Ukrainians from Wizz Air
The generous gesture continues a rolling series of free ticket offers to Ukrainian citizens that began earlier this year when Russia invaded Ukraine. The program started in March with ticket number top-ups and extensions ever since
"We continue to support Ukrainian citizens by providing 100,000 free tickets on all continental European and UK flights. The free tickets will be available for travel across 800 routes between September 15 and December 8, 2022, to assist Ukrainians in reaching their desired destinations. The seats are available to book for anyone with a Ukrainian passport by entering their passport number in the relevant field," said Wizz on their social media channels on Thursday.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi slips Moscow flights back into the schedules
But what one hand gives, the other takes away. In what many might view as a slap in the face to Ukraine and its people, Wizz Air's Abu Dhabi subsidiary has quietly slipped flights to Moscow back into its schedules. On Tuesday, Simple Flying's Devansh Metha reported Wizz Air was starting flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Vnukovo International Airport (VKO) in Moscow from October 3rd.
"Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is operating a network of 34 destinations within a five-hour flight time radius of Abu Dhabi, providing ultra-low fares to a variety of diverse destinations," said Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, Michael Berlouis. "We support the UAE's travel and tourism industry by enhancing connectivity both regionally and globally, in line with national regulations and policies."
"Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people during this crisis," said József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air, earlier this year. "We have already seen great humanitarian efforts on the ground by our people across the network, and as a company, we wanted to play our part in these efforts."
Some confused messaging from Wizz Air
Arguably, Wizz Air is having it both ways here. It wants the feel-good buzz (and publicity) of helping out stranded Ukrainians, but it is resuming operations to the capital of the country that started the conflict, presumably because Wizz figures they can make a dollar or two flying the AUH - VKO route.
"Wizz Air is Ukraine's hometown airline, and we are here to continue to support in any way we can during these difficult times. Our aim is to alleviate the hardships of Ukrainian citizens," said Mr. Váradi in response to the latest round of free tickets. Make of that corporate mixed messaging what you will. The tickets are available on 800 routes across continental Europe, the United Kingdom, and Georgia, and bookings are now open.
"The free tickets can be booked until availability lasts on each individual flight. Please enter your International Ukrainian passport number in the bottom box when searching for the flight to ensure you enable the free tickets if still available," says the Wizz website. The airline adds Ukrainians don't need formal refugee status to access the free tickets, just a valid Ukrainian passport.