Wizz Air to suspend all flights to and from Moldova in March over ‘security concerns’ involving Russia
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Low-cost carrier Wizz Air is set to suspend all flights to and from Moldova this month due to security concerns related to escalating tensions with Russia. According to the Hungarian airline, flights from the UK to the country, which borders Ukraine on its north, east and south, will all be suspended.
It comes after a Russian missile was fired over Moldovan airspace earlier in February, following rising tensions between Moscow and the Moldovan government. The airline flies to the Moldovan capital from Luton Airport.
In a statement, the airline said: “Due to recent developments and the high, not imminent, risk in the country’s airspace, Wizz Air has taken the difficult but responsible decision to suspend all its flights to Chișinău as of March 14.”
According to the BBC, Moldova’s infrastructure ministry said it regretted Wizz Air’s decision, but assured in a statement that flights “which respect a number of procedures, could be carried out safely”.
The airline requested approval for its summer flight schedule on February 14, according to Moldova’s civil aviation authority, and the agency "determined that flights in the national airspace can be carried out safely by following a number of procedures."
The authority promised to take "all necessary actions" to lure other low-cost airlines and quickly bring Wizz Air back to the airport in Chișinău. In place of the Chișinău service, Wizz Air said more flights would be available from across Europe to Iasi in eastern Romania, which is close to the Moldovan border.
Moscow and the government of Moldova have been at odds more recently. Moldova, which is sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, applied to join the EU last summer.
The 2.6 million-person nation has experienced difficulties due to the influx of refugees from Ukraine and tensions with Transnistria, a secessionist pro-Moscow region that is home to 1,500 Russian soldiers.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, claimed earlier this month that Kyiv’s intelligence agency had discovered a Russian plot to destroy Moldova. Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest economies and has been heavily exposed to the war in Ukraine.