Budget airline Wizz Air is offering 100,000 free seats to Ukrainian refugees to help them reach their destination, “wherever that may be”.
The Hungarian low-cost carrier tweeted the news on Tuesday night, along with a dedicated “rescue” URL where anyone with a valid Ukrainian passport can apply for a free flight from four neighboring countries to which Ukrainian civilians are fleeing.
“Wizz is committed to helping Ukrainian refugees reach their destination, wherever that may be,” said the airline.
“We are providing 100,000 free seats on short-haul flights departing from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania in March. Book your travel at wizzair.com/#/rescue.”
The carrier will also offer a €29.99 (£25) “rescue fare” on all its other flights, to help citizens who are stranded elsewhere – passengers must give a Ukrainian passport number to qualify for these. Rescue fares will be more expensive on flights to the UAE, Iceland and Canada (€69.99).
CEO of Wizz Air, Jozsef Varadi, said: “Our hearts are with the Ukrainian people during this crisis.
“We are committed to helping as many Ukrainian refugees as possible to get to a safe place, which is why we will be offering them 100,000 free seats from the border countries and special rescue fares on all other flights.
“We have already seen great humanitarian efforts on the ground by our people across the network, and as a company we wanted to play our part in these efforts.”
Customers responded warmly to the move online – many of them calling on other airlines and rail companies to do the same, or asking if they could transfer unused air miles to Ukrainian passengers.
Eurostar has also extended offers of free Paris-London tickets to refugees fleeing the Russian invasion in Ukraine – though they will need to arrange a visa for travel to the UK before being able to claim it.
“If you have a valid visa to enter the UK, along with your Ukrainian passport, please speak to a member of the Eurostar team at Paris Nord, Brussels-Midi, Lille Europe or Amsterdam Central stations, and they will issue a ticket for travel to London,” Eurostar said in an update.
“It is important to arrive with the necessary visa documents, as these will be checked by the UK Border Force during the check-in process.”
Poland authorities estimate that around 350,000 Ukrainians have crossed its border since Russian troops invaded their country last Thursday; a million displaced people are expected to descend.
Political leaders from Finland, Germany, Moldova and Slovakia have also pledged their support for refugees.
Meanwhile, the UK’s home secretary Priti Patel has refused to join the EU in waiving visa rules for Ukrainians, saying yesterday that it would undermine “the strongest security advice”.