While St. Petersburg Pulkovo airport (LED) says farewell to the British Airways on October 3, 2019, Wizz Air arrived last night to fill the gap. It launched daily flights between Luton airport and Pulkovo and seems to stay for long.
The British Airways’ service to St. Petersburg had lasted since 1971, and survived both political crises between the United Kingdom and USSR and the economic downturn in Russia in the 90s. The UK flag carrier’s representatives used to say that flights to St. Petersburg were necessary not just for keeping the network extensive, they were generating good money. But what the Cold War and the economic crisis in Russia failed to do was possible for the political turbulence in the 2010s. In 2018, the Britain’s General Consulate in St. Petersburg was closed. A year afterwards, the air carrier announced its flights to St. Petersburg were no more commercially viable.
So Wizz Air’s subsidy Wizz Air UK has stepped in to make sure air passengers will not have to suffer from connecting flights. Wizz Air is a low-cost carrier, that’s why there is a strong hope that its operations on the route will generate money. Tickets are from 29,99 euro/25,99 GBR one way.
The other difference between the two air companies, apart from tickets prices, are airports. The British Airways had flown to Heathrow (LHR), Wizz Air will be flying to London Luton airport (LTN).
Wizz Air, which has put a 230-seat A321 on the route, already has a successful record in Pulkovo. Since August 2017, it’s been flying in here from Budapest, and won the LED Together prize for the Best New Direction that same year. In 2019, Wizz Air carried between the cities 62,000 travelers, 20 percent up to the corresponding period of 2018.
Wizz Air will likely be much helped by electronic visas to St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region which have gone into effect as of October 1, 2019. The UK is not on the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for this simplified entry procedure, but London has been known for years as truly global city which can provide any destination with tourists of nearly all nationalities.
During the first six hours e-visas were valid, more than 3,000 applications from 33 countries had been submitted, St. Petersburg Tourism committee reported. First e-tourists are waited to come on October, 4, just a day after the British Airways’ plane will take off from Pulkovo for the last time. Looks like biting irony.
Photo credit: Pulkovo Airport