Carlisle-based aviation, energy and civil engineering firm Stobart Group — still recovering from recent boardroom battles — on Thursday announced a new partnership with the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, Wizz Air.
Stobart’s aviation business includes London Southend Airport, Carlisle Lake District Airport and Teesside International Airport.
In a stock exchange statement, Stobart Group said: “From Thursday 22 August 2019, Wizz Air will put on sale three new routes from London Southend Airport to Bucharest (Romania), Sibiu (Romania), and Vilnius (Lithuania).
“Wizz Air will operate 14 weekly flights from the airport, using Airbus A320 aircraft.
“As a result of the new routes, which will start in October and November, the airport expects to welcome an additional 250,000 passengers in the first year of the 5-year agreement, as London Southend Airport, London’s fastest growing airport, builds towards its target of five million passengers per annum by February 2023.”
Wizz Air joins other operators based at London Southend Airport including easyJet, Air Malta, Ryanair, Loganair and Flybe (Connect Airways).
London Southend customers now have more than 40 domestic and European destinations from which to choose.
Stobart Group CEO Warwick Brady said: “The agreement with Wizz Air is another significant milestone in the development of the UK’s fastest-growing airport, London Southend Airport.
“The partnership increases the domestic and European destinations we can offer customers to more than 40 by adding exciting and increasingly popular destinations in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Last year, we increased passenger numbers at London Southend Airport by one-third to more than 1.5 million.
“This is part of our plan to become London’s next big airport as we aim to hit our target of five million passengers per annum by February 2023.
“2019 has also seen substantial progress at London Southend Airport.
“Not only in terms of more airlines starting services, but the continued development of the airport’s infrastructure and retail offering.
“These improvements include new early and late trains from London Liverpool Street and enhanced food and beverage options in the terminal, as we build towards our target of £8 EBITDA per passenger.
“We are pleased that this easy access to London continues to attract more airline partners, such as Wizz Air, to London Southend Airport.
“The frequent train services have also helped increase the growth of the airport, which is now seeing more than 65% of its customers travelling from the Inner London area, and London Southend Airport’s ease-of-use and customer service has seen consumer group Which? rank it the best London airport for five consecutive years.”