Central European carrier Wizz Air is proposing a new venture – Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.
The new venture is a combination of work with the airline, as well as The Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company PJSC (“ADDH”).
This will be the first time. Wizz Air will establish an airline outside Europe.
The new airline will be a joint venture, with a target entry into service of the second half of 2020.
No routes have been announced, but it seems the airline will focus on establishing routes to markets in which Wizz Air has existing, high growth operations, namely Central and Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa over the long run.
The airline will use Airbus A321neo aircraft in its fleet when it starts to fly.
There are regulatory and commercial hurdles to clear for this airline to happen, including meeting the requirements o of the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate
József Váradi Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air Holdings 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 Abu Dhabi will be an incremental path of growth for Wizz Air, built on our successful ultra-low cost business model, bringing affordable travel to ever more customers. We believe the new airline has the potential to be a significant player in the region.”
H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, commented:
“As Abu Dhabi International Airport continues its growth as a major gateway to the UAE and the wider region, we welcome contribution airlines, such as this new airline, and the impact this partnership will make to our continued national economic development. We look forward to building a highly successful partnership with them in the years to come.”
Mr. Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, CEO of ADDH, said:
“As a trusted government partner with a clear mandate to boost key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy, we are proud to partner with Wizz Air, an airline with strong market presence and brand recognition in key European source markets. 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.”
Joining the low-cost party
It seems that with the establishment of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, other airlines are sniffing around for business opportunities beyond their traditional bases – and Wizz Air has struck a partnership with the ADDH to deliver a new airline. In addition flyDubai (the Emirates equivelent of a low cost carrier) is a mere 1 hour and 30 minutes away on a good day out of Dubai International Airport.
However, it does strike me odd at best that they think two low-cost carriers in the area will help drive more revenue to the region, where they have this habit of going after soft routes with many passengers and low costs.
That might not be helpful to Etihad.
If Abu Dhabi is intent on remaking itself into a low-cost airline hub, this could turn interesting very quickly, and it will be fun to see what other airlines take the bait of possible new traffic flows…
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