Low-cost airline Wizzair has announced that it will start an airline subsidiary in Abu Dhabi. The Hungarian budget airline, which also has an official subsidiary in the United Kingdom, unveiled plans today to launch flights out of Abu Dhabi in the second half of 2020.
United Arab Emirates
The subsidiary will officially be registered in the United Arab Emirates and flights will be operated out of the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. Wizz Air will officially cooperate with Abu Dhabi Development Holding (ADDH) in the launch of the new aviation company. For this, Wizz Air plans to use a fleet of Airbus A321 neo aeroplanes.
Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi, the CEO of ADDH, said that the soon-to-be-opened low-cost airline is part of a strategy of the oil-rich emirate to boost tourism and other key sectors of the economy not related to oil. Al Suwaidi said: “Through our partnership with Wizz Air, we aim to capitalise on the growing demand for budget travel and support the continued growth of Abu Dhabi as a world-class cultural and tourist destination.”
Wizz Air, which currently already offers flight from Budapest and Bucharest to Dubai World Central Airport (DWC) located roughly halfway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, did not yet announce which cities will be served from its future Abu Dhabi hub.
Wizzair’s CEO Jozsef Varadi said: “We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. ADDH’s deep-rooted knowledge of the local market, support and navigation in a new market for Wizz is invaluable and will boost the successful development of this low-cost airline.
Wizz Air did not yet announce which cities it will serve with its new UAE subsidiary, although local media reported that the company will first focus on establishing services from Abu Dhabi to Europe before entering completely new markets by offering flights to destinations in Asia and Africa. With the range of the Airbus A321neo, Wizz Air can easily reach cities as far as Western Europe, although the company might first focus on offering services to Central and Eastern Europe on which most of its current flight activities are centered.
Wizz Air would have to compete with a number of airlines in order to gain a sustainable market share in the country. Abu Dhabi is the home of Etihad Airways, a full-service airline which already announced two months ago that it would start a low-cost subsidiary as well in the emirate. Etihad said that it will cooperate with Air Arabia, a long-standing low-cost airline based in the emirate of Sharjah, located just to the north-east of Dubai.
The new Wizz Air subsidiary would also face competition from the Dubai-based airlines of Emirates and flydubai. With an all-Boeing 737 fleet serving several destinations across southern and eastern Europe, as well in Africa and Asia, flydubai is perhaps the airline which comes closest to the idea Wizz Air and ADDH have in mind.