Budget airline links decision to airspace risks from war in neighboring Ukraine and tensions with Russia
Wizz Air will suspend all its flights to and from Moldova next month due to security concerns linked to growing tensions with Russia.
It comes after a Russian missile was fired over Moldovan airspace earlier this month.
The Hungarian budget airline said: “Safety of the passengers and crew remain Wizz Air’s number one priority.
“Following the recent developments in Moldova and the elevated, but not imminent, risk in the country’s airspace, Wizz Air has made the difficult but responsible decision to suspend all flights to [the capital] Chisinau from 14 March.”
Moldova’s infrastructure ministry said it regretted Wizz Air’s decision, assuring in a statement that flights “which respect a number of procedures, could be carried out safely”.
The country’s civil aviation authority said the airline had sought approval for its summer flight schedule on 14 February and the agency “determined that flights in the national airspace can be carried out safely by following a number of procedures”, the BBC reported.
The pro-European republic of 2.6 million people, located between Romania and Ukraine, has reported “attempts at destabilisation” in recent weeks.
Its territory has been hit by debris from the war in Ukraine several times and Moldova has occasionally shut down its own airspace during the Ukraine conflict.
Moldova has also suffered energy blackouts after Ukraine stopped exporting electricity because of Russian airstrikes on critical infrastructure.
Earlier this month, Moldova’s president, Maia Sandu, accused Russia of plotting to violently overthrow the country’s pro-European leadership with the help of saboteurs disguised as anti-government protesters. Moscow denied the claim.
Wizz Air is the first airline to announce such a suspension of flights. The Romanian national airline, Tarom, Air Moldova, and Turkish Airlines continue to fly to the Moldovan capital.