Wizz Air UK (W9, London Luton) will suspend its base operations at Cardiff, United Kingdom, over the coming winter, citing a "challenging macro-economic environment", but will continue to operate a limited number of flights from the Welsh capital over the season, the airline announced.

The Hungarian budget carrier plans to increase its operations from Cardiff again next spring and, as part of its long-term commitment to the airport, has already launched its Summer 2023 flight schedule from the airport, it said in a statement.

From September 19, Wizz Air will suspend nine summer routes from Cardiff to the following destinations:

Still, it will continue to operate from Cardiff with two new winter season flights launching on October 30: Milan Malpensa (Italy) and Bucharest Henri Coanda (Romania).

As a consequence of suspending base operations during the winter months, all Cardiff-based employees will be offered redeployment opportunities at other UK airports over the winter. "Although this has been an incredibly difficult decision for the airline, it has been made with as much advance notice as possible to minimise any last-minute cancellations and maximise rebooking options for customers," the carrier said.

Affected passengers can opt for a 120% refund of the original fare in airline credit, a 100% cash refund, or comparable flights for next summer from Cardiff, or this year through London Gatwick or London Luton.

Although the summer schedule proved popular, it will not be commercially viable to last through the coming winter, explained Wizz Air UK Managing Director Marion Geoffroy. “We continue to value our close working relationship with Cardiff Airport and plan to resume base operations at the airport next year. We have already placed our full Cardiff summer schedule on sale [...] and are introducing two new winter routes. It takes time to build up sustainable operations at any base, and we are prepared to build up operations at Cardiff over the long term.”

“It is disappointing and frustrating for our customers whose travel plans are disrupted as a result of Wizz Air’s reduction of operations at Cardiff Airport over the winter, which we understand is due to economic factors," commented Cardiff Airport Chief Executive Officer Spencer Birns.

"We have seen great demand for travel to and from Wales this year. Our efforts to work with airlines to deploy more capacity on high-demand routes will certainly continue."

Birns welcomed the announcement of the two new routes to Italy and Romania commencing this autumn along with the planned resumption of the Summer 2023 schedule. "We look forward to Wizz Air increasing its operations to popular holiday destinations from Cardiff again next spring,” he added.