A LOW-COST airline has launched a new base at Gatwick Airport as part of an expansion.

Wizz Air opened its third UK hub at the airport last week.

It will now offer passengers the chance to fly to new destinations with introduction of four new routes.

On the day of the opening, a spokesman for Gatwick Airport said: "We are delighted that WizzAir has launched its new base at Gatwick Airport.

"Passengers can fly from Gatwick with Wizz to a range of exciting destinations, including new routes to Naples, Athens, Malta and Lanzarote."

Wizz Air, which is the fourth largest airline group operating in the UK, also has bases at Luton Airport and Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

The Argus:

The Doncaster site also opened last week as the airline continues to grow its operations.

A Wizz Air spokesman said: "Wizz Air started flying from Gatwick in 2016 and, since then, has carried almost one million passengers. With the creation of a new base at Gatwick, Wizz Air will offer passengers even more affordable travel opportunities with 450,000 seats per annum on sale on its new routes to popular holiday destinations including Athens, Naples, Lanzarote and Malta for the remainder of the year."

Wizz Air will now have one Airbus A321 aircraft flying these new routes to and from the airport.

The airline's expansion comes at a turbulent time for the aviation industry, with coronavirus restrictions causing demand for flights to plummet.

The Argus:

Gatwick Airport chief executive Stewart Wingate told BBC South East Today that about 40 per cent of the airport's employees would have lost their jobs by the end of this month.

He also said that the site would be operating at less than 15 per cent capacity during the winter months, adding that it would take up to five years for the site to recover from the impacts of the coronavirus crisis.

Virgin Atlantic, a permanent fixture at Gatwick since its first flight from the site in 1984, announced in May that it would be stopping all flights to and from the airport as well as cutting 3,150 jobs across the company.

The Argus:

Meanwhile fellow airlines such as British Airways, which has a large number of aircraft based at Gatwick, have also announced plans to cut jobs on a devastating scale during the coronavirus lockdown.

After announcing that Wizz Air UK would be opening its new Gatwick base, the airline's managing director Owain Jones said the expansion “reinforces Wizz Air UK’s position as a British airline that is growing, creating new jobs, bringing much-needed connectivity to the UK and so helping the economy get back in the air”.