Tuzla Airport’s management has said it is surprised by Wizz Air’s decision to close its base in the city in mid-September. The carrier is the airport’s only scheduled operator. In a statement, Tuzla Airport’s management said, “We are surprised by the latest information because we do not see any reason for such a decision. Namely, this is a record year for Tuzla Airport in terms of the number of passengers handled, because we have served more than 400.000 travellers by July 15. Based on this, there is no economic reason for Wizz Air to close its base. They told us it is because of global economic factors. There was nothing we could do to change that”.
As EX-YU Aviation News learns, the budget carrier warned Tuzla Airport several years ago about serious disruptions to its network out of the city due to fog over the winter months. The airline requested for the airport to install runway centreline lighting, however, it has not done so to this day despite numerous announcements concerning the project over the past few years. Since 2019 the airport has been plagued by frequent managerial changes, while its former General Manager is under investigation by authorities for embezzlement. Wizz Air said that operational challenges caused by weather in the region played a role in its decision to close its Tuzla base, which will lead to the termination of eleven routes.
The airport has said the base closure will have a significant impact on its operations, however, it is seeking alternatives. “Wizz Air is not the only airline. We are holding talks and seeking a way to overcome this situation. It is obvious there is significant potential that can be taken advantage of by another interested airline. It is important that we have passenger potential”, Tuzla Airport said. Last November, Ryanair launched operations to Tuzla, however, flights were discontinued this June over a state-imposed tax. Tuzla Airport said the agreement signed with Ryanair is still valid and they may restore operations to the city if issues over the tax payments are overcome.