Flights connecting Romania to European destinations: New routes announced for 2021
In a 2020 filled with uncertainties, the low-cost airlines serving the local market announced several additional routes for 2021. Special flights were offered to fans who want to support their national football teams during the Group C matches of the UEFA 2020 European Football Championship, while more flights will link Cluj-Napoca to destinations in Europe.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant the grounding of flights, the closure of borders, and the decrease in passenger numbers, bringing about what many have called the "annus horibilis" for the aviation industry. In Europe, traffic for 2020 closed out at -55% of 2019 levels. In total, there were 5 million flights operated in 2020 compared to 11.1 million in 2019, a loss of 6.1 million flights, according to Eurocontrol's Think Paper: 2020 COVID impact on European aviation & 2021 outlook. The Think Paper predicts that 2021 traffic will recover to 51% of 2019 volumes, with the recovery gathering pace from the summer onwards as vaccine rollouts take effect.
Last week, Ryanair said it expected its January traffic to fall to under 1.25 million passengers, and that new Covid-19 restrictions could also reduce the February and March traffic to as little as 500,000 passengers each month. In response, the company will significantly cut its flight schedules from January 21, which "will result in few, if any, flights being operated to and from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed," it said, referencing the Covid-19 lockdowns in Ireland and the UK.
At the same time, Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air's CEO, told Reuters that the company would cut its flying plans for the month of January because of the new UK lockdown while looking at a rebound by the summer season.
What was announced for 2021?
- Wizz Air announced flights occasioned by the UEFA 2020 European Football Championship. It also announced three new routes from Cluj-Napoca to destinations in Germany, starting June of this year.
- Ryanair announced flights from Bucharest to Palma de Mallorca, beginning March 28, and to Manchester starting March 29, 2021.
- Blue Air said it would introduce 13 new routes that will connect Cluj-Napoca to key destinations in Europe starting March 1, 2021.
Wizz Air, the biggest air carrier in Romania by the number of passengers, said it would launch special flights dedicated to sports enthusiasts eager to support their national football teams during the Group C matches of the UEFA 2020 European Football Championship, which will take place in Bucharest this year. Twenty-six flights will offer football fans from Austria, North Macedonia, and Ukraine the opportunity to watch the matches that are scheduled for June 13, 17, and 21 in Romania's capital city.
It also announced it was expanding its operations at the Cluj-Napoca international airport, in western Romania. The company said it would add a new Airbus A320 aircraft, which will allow it to launch three new routes from the Transylvanian hub to Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden, Hamburg, and Koln, Germany, and increase the frequencies on nine existing routes. The routes are available starting in June of this year.
From Cluj-Napoca, the available flights on the airline's website are to Vienna (Austria), Brussels Charleroi (Belgium), Larnaca (Cyprus), Lyon -Saint-Exupéry and Paris Beauvais (France), Berlin Brandenburg, Cologne, Dortmund, Frankfurt Hahn, Hamburg, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Memmingen/Munich West, and Nuremberg (Germany), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Bari, Bologna, Milan Bergamo, Rome Ciampino, Venice Marco Polo Airport, and Venice Treviso (Italy), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Alicante, Barcelona El Prat, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, and Zaragoza (Spain), Malmo (Sweden), Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg (Switzerland), Birmingham, Doncaster/Sheffield, Liverpool, and London Luton (UK).
In 2020, Wizz Air started to fly from Bucharest to the Spanish resort of Palma de Mallorca and to Heraklion, the capital of the Greek island of Crete. It also made available five weekly flights from Bucharest to Vienna. Wizz Air flies to Vienna from three other Romanian cities, namely Cluj-Napoca, Suceava, and Constanța.
From Bucharest, Wizz Air added last year flights to Cagliari (Sardegna/Italy), Copenhagen, Bergen (Norway), Hamburg, Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden, Memmingen (Germany), Santorini, and Mykonos (Greece), offering 61 routes to 20 countries from Romania's capital. The airline also started connecting Bucharest to Abu Dhabi.
Wizz Air also announced a new base in Bacău, in eastern Romania, and routes connecting the city to Turin, Venice Treviso, Bologna, Rome Fiumicino, Milan Bergamo, Catania (Italy), Larnaca (Cyprus), London Luton, Liverpool (UK), Memmingen/Munich West (Germany), Billund (Denmark), and Brussels Charleroi (Belgium).
In its turn, Ryanair announced routes from Bucharest to Palma de Mallorca, starting March 28, and to Manchester starting March 29, 2021.
From Bucharest, Ryanair has international flights to Vienna (Austria), Brussels Charleroi, Paphos (Cyprus), Marseille (France), Berlin Brandenburg (Germany), Athens and Chania (Greece), Dublin (Ireland), Tel Aviv (Israel), Bologna, Milan Malpensa, Milano Bergamo, Palermo, Pescara, Pisa, Roma Ciampino (Italy), Amman Jordan, Madrid (Spain), Bristol, Edinburgh, London Southend, London Stansted (UK).
It also resumed flights from Oradea, in western Romania, with four routes to London Stansted, Milan Bergamo, Bologna, and Dusseldorf Weeze. The routes have two flights a week - starting from December 2020, as part of Ryanair's Winter 2020 - Summer 2021 schedule in Romania.
Last year, the Romanian low-cost airline Blue Air added two more weekly flights between Bucharest's Henri Coanda Airport and London Heathrow and announced it would introduce 13 new routes that will connect Cluj-Napoca to key destinations in Europe starting March 1, 2021. The new destinations offered from Cluj are: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Dublin, Hamburg, Cologne, Larnaca, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, and Stuttgart. The flights to London will have London Heathrow as their destination airport, while the flights to Paris will land at the Charles de Gaulle airport.
Blue Air also said it would introduce 49 new flights per week from Bucharest to seven destinations, namely Barcelona, Birmingham, Bologna, Glasgow, Madrid, Rome, and Vienna, between December 18, 2020, and January 10, 2021. The new flights are operated temporarily during the 2020-21 Winter Schedule, and the company was also planning to introduce them in the regular flight schedule within the 2021 Blue Air Summer Schedule.
British low-cost airline group easyJet was reported to return to the Romanian market with a route between Bucharest and Milan to be launched this spring. The British low-cost operator previously gave up twice its local routes. Flights between Bucharest and Milan Malpensa for March 28 onward can currently be booked on the carrier's website.
The restrictions in place
As the vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 have only started at the end of December across Europe, and the pandemic situation varies from country to country, many flight restrictions and test requirements are in place. Reopen.europa.eu/en and the dedicated app offers an overview of the health situation in European countries, based on data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). It also provides information on the various restrictions in place, including on quarantine and testing requirements for travelers and mobile coronavirus contact tracing and warning apps. The tool is available in 24 languages.
Romania updated its "yellow list" of countries with a high epidemiological risk last week. Travelers arriving from countries on the list are required to quarantine for 14 days at home or a stated location. The list is available on the website of the National Center for Transmissible Diseases Supervision and Control (CNSCBT) or the website of the Border Police. Travelers arriving from the UK are , according to a decision on January 3. Many embassies present in Bucharest also provide updates on the local situation on their social media channels.