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Budget airlines expand into eastern Europe

by Nicky Gardner


EU expansion has presaged the enormous growth of budget air travel in Eastern Europe; we give an overview of key trends and identify some of the up and coming carriers that now serve this region

Keeping abreast of developments in the discount airline market can be daunting for even the most enthusiastic of air travellers. Blink, and another couple of carriers disappear, five more enter the market, and even the once abandoned airstrip at the end of your back garden now seems to have holiday flights to the Med and a handful of city break venues around Europe. Volatile is the best word to describe the industry. Duo, Skynet Airlines, Air Polonia, VolareWeb and V-Bird are just five of the more than a dozen European carriers which have slipped into oblivion over the last year, oftentimes leaving hapless passengers stranded and out of pocket. Meanwhile, the giants of the discount market continue to expand their networks, pushing further eastward into the former Warsaw Pact countries.

hidden europe is not the place to detail every new route or travel opportunity that has sprung up in the last months, but it is worth commenting on some of the intriguing trends that have emerged.