Wizz Air suspends flights to Moldovan capital Chisinau over safety concerns

Wizz Air has announced that it will no longer operate flights to Moldova’s capital, Chisinau, due to safety concerns. The development comes amid the ongoing Ukraine war and growing concerns that Russia may turn against it. The budget airline said that flights would stop from March 14.

The Moldovan government said that it “regrets” the company’s “sudden decision”, and claimed flights could be undertaken by following certain procedures.

Nicu Popescu, Moldova’s foreign minister, stated that his nation was prepared for what he referred to as a “full spectrum of threats.” There are concerns that Russia may intensify efforts to destabilize the nation, which is already reeling from the war in its neighboring Ukraine.

Wizz Air stated in a statement: Wizz Air’s top priority continues to be the safety of its crew members and passengers.

It further added, “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 Chisinau from the 14th of March.”

The low-cost airline said it would add more flights to and from the city of Iasi in Romania, which is close to the border with Moldova.

On the official Telegram channel of the Moldovan government, it stated: Government agencies regret Wizz Air’s sudden decision, but they have determined that flights in the national airspace can be carried out safely by following a number of procedures after analyzing the risks.

The government added that the country’s civil aviation authority and the ministry of infrastructure and regional development had informed Wizz Air representatives of the procedures in place to guarantee aviation security and had been “constantly cooperating” with them.

From other destinations on Wizz Air’s network, flights to Chisinau would be moved to Iasi, and more planes would depart from major European cities like Barcelona, Milan, and London.

There would be no replacement for flights from Chisinau to Budapest and Prague.

Why Moldova fears it could be next target for Putin

Russia has been accused of laying the groundwork for a coup that could bring Moldova into the Kremlin’s war. This in turn had caused tensions to rise in the small country on the border with Ukraine in the southwest.

Maia Sandu, the president of Moldova, has echoed similar warnings issued by Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, that Russia is using “saboteurs” disguised as civilians to stoke unrest during a period of political instability.

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised suspicions that he is fabricating a pretext for an annexation similar to that of Crimea by making claims that Kyiv is planning its own assault on pro-Russian territory in Moldova where Moscow has a military foothold.



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