Wizz just celebrated it 13th Birthday. Once based both in Kiev (Ukraine) and Budapest (Hungary), it pulled out of Kiev, and re-registered its entire fleet in the Hungarian capital after the Russian’s invaded the eastern part of the country, and the Malaysian airliner was shot down, raising Ukraine insurance rates to untenable levels.
It’s a fast growing airline, with 117 routes, 26 of them new this year, is about to base its first aircraft in western Europe – literally (and if you’ve ever been to Luton Airport, I do mean literally), under the noses of both easyJet and Monarch who have their HQ’s there.
This livery was painted on in November 2016 when Budapest formally launched its 2024 Olympic bid. By the time the model was conceived and made, then delivered, the livery was gone.
Why so fast? because in April 2017 the right-wing populist Hungarian Government, the Mayor of Budapest and most of the population had realised that the benefits of the Olympics were minimal, and the cost would be ridiculous. This is a country with no real infrastructure to support such a massive event. Nobody wanted to face the debt, the tax, and the unrelenting fact that once the Olympics have finished, only one in eight countries ever reported a net benefit. Most, like Greece and Brazil, in this century, are still wishing they’d never started the project, though at least Athens got a new airport out of it. Having nearly fallen through the floor of the old one in 1989, into the luggage conveyor, I assure you it was long over due!
So there we go, politics again, creating fleeting moment in history where an airline spent a load of money repainting an entire aircraft that was just two months old, with a new livery in support of something that didn’t happen, then spent another small fortune re-spraying back to how it had been a few weeks before.
This Airbus A321-231 is fitted with 230 economy seats and is part of the airlines drive to push forward – already the biggest airline in eastern Europe (excluding Russia), it’s also one of the most profitable, and considered well run. It seems to have avoided the bizarre multi-layered weirdness of the Norwegian method, that in my personal opinion is little more than a legalized pyramid scheme.
The Phoenix A321 is one of the best it has to be said. Three aerials up top, 1 below and all well placed and painted. The graphic which represent Hungary’s national flag, horizontal red, white and green bars, along with the blue, yellow, and black that form the other three rings of the Olympic rings, are all present.
Print detail is typical of Phoenix current standards for such things.
2.Wings and landing gear
A superb set of detailed, lightly painted wings, well fitted and exemplary in their detail. Landing gear detail on the hydraulics and the overall finish is excellent compared to the appalling flash-filled mould of the JCW/Gemini versions. Tyres are good, though one is lumpier than ideal. These have still got to get better.
Nacelles are painted in the national flag green, have good silver rims. However the fans do have a greenish tint from the paint underneath, though it does have a problem with the exhausts too – silver being painted on to wet green paint has made them messy.
Neat, tidy, superbly detailed, absolutely no issues, everything is where you would want it to be. A fine example.
The vertical stabilizer is emblazoned with the words “Budapest, Candidate City Olympic Games 2024”, surmounted by a rather odd-looking logo. The logo is best understood in colour, not the blue and white it’s been painted on the aircraft. It represents segments of the rings of the Olympiad and the coming together of the worlds nations as it forms a human-like character in the centre. The down side is that the D in Budapest on one side is partly missing.
The tail section itself is reasonably well fitted together, and commensurate with the overall quality of this model.
Phoenix have done a superb job, no complaints.
7.Score and conclusions
- -2 for the green leak into the fan colour
- -2 for the green/silver mess at the engine exhausts
- -1 for the partly missing ‘D’ in Budapest on the tail
- -1 for the not quite perfect tail fit
- 94% isn’t bad at all!
We have a first – a Phoenix A321 scoring relatively highly.
It’s not everyone’s thing, and it may be too fleeting a moment in time to bother with for some of you. However Wizz is one of those airlines like WOW, Ryan Air, Frontier and easyJet, who’s collectors are desperate for more, and something like this is likely to hold its value simply for its rarity and the brief period it existed.
It’s different, it’s well made and I wouldn’t underestimate its worthiness to have in a collection, even if only as talking point.
My recommendation: A buy. well worth the money and far superior to anything coming out of Geminiland of late, despite it’s untidy elements.