Wizz Air (W6, Budapest) has announced that it will shortly suspend all Chisinau International, Moldova flights due to security concerns.

"Following the recent developments in Moldova and the elevated, but not imminent, risk in the country's airspace, Wizz Air has made the difficult but responsible decision to suspend all flights to Chisinau from March 14," the LCC said.

While the airline did not elaborate on the "recent developments" that had resulted in the heightened risk, it presumably referred to lingering geopolitical tensions and the potential spillover into Moldova of the Russian war in Ukraine. Moldova's strongly pro-European government recently said that it identified "attempts at destabilisation" of the country by pro-Russian forces. Secessionist Transnistria, internationally recognised as a part of Moldova, hosts a substantial Russian military deployment.

The Moldovan Civil Aviation Authority said Wizzair's decision was unexpected and unjustified while adding that the carrier had sought approval for its Summer 2023 Chisinau schedule as recently as February 14.

"Today [on February 27], the schedule was approved by the CAA. Following a risk analysis, the state institutions determined that flights in national airspace can be carried out safely, while applying a series of procedures in this regard, and regret the sudden decision taken by Wizz Air," the regulator said.

Moldova received European Union candidate status in June 2022 but remains, in theory, a member of the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States. The country closed its airspace to all operations on February 24, 2022, when Russia resumed its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Moldovan airspace partially reopened to permit arrivals to and departures from Chisinau airport after one month, although it remains closed outside the capital region. Chisinau is the country's only commercial airport.

Following the closure of Moldovan airspace in February 2022, Wizz Air relocated its Chisinau base to Iasi in north-eastern Romania. It then closed the base on December 1, 2022, but continues to serve the city for the time being from other bases and has a sizeable 24.34% market share by scheduled weekly capacity (split between Wizz Air and Wizz Air UK), second only to Air Moldova, the ch-aviation capacities module shows.

The Hungarian LCC is set to expand its network from Iasi with new routes transferred from Chisinau to:

FlyOne recently told ch-aviation that despite the lack of direct impact of the war on Moldova, many lessors were apprehensive about placing their aircraft with Moldovan carriers. As a result, FlyOne relocated part of its fleet to sister airline FlyOne (Armenia) (3F, Yerevan).