European budget airline Wizz Air has seen impressive expansion since it began operations in 2003. In 2018, the carrier launched operations with British-registered aircraft under its Wizz Air UK subsidiary. Most recently, however, we saw Wizz take a big leap eastwards with the launch of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. In speaking with the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Simple Flying has confirmed that the airline group would be open to doing the same again somewhere else.
The Wizz Air model
During Simple Flying’s July 15th webinar with Wizz Air Chief Operating Officer George Michalopolous, the airline executive was asked if the “Abu Dhabi model” would ever be replicated somewhere else in the world. To that question, Michalopolous said the following:
“Yes, I think that’s the Wizz Air model. You have Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, you have Wizz UK. That’s how we’re set up. When there’s a need to have a local [Air Operators Certificate] to tap into traffic rights, or just to set up a local establishment, that’s what we’ll do.”
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has indeed taken advantage of its UAE Air Operators Certificate to tap into local traffic rights. The carrier and its four Airbus A321neos are currently operating flights from Abu Dhabi to Egypt, Oman, and Israel, among several other locations.
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Michalopolous discusses the fact that Wizz Air has a substantial aircraft order and continues to grow. Part of that growth will also include brand new bases. “I don’t have any specific number I have to share today,” he says, but adds “yeah, there will absolutely be new bases.”
So, where might Wizz Air’s future offshoots be located?
India was a part of our webinar’s discussion but solely in the context of operating from Abu Dhabi. When asked about the airline’s growth into India, Michalopolous said it was a “very attractive market.” However, the executive noted that growth into India would see the airline deal with certain regulatory restrictions. With this in mind, while also considering all of India’s existing low-cost carriers, “Wizz Air India” might not be an airline forming any time soon.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to know where the next Wizz Air Abu Dhabi-type offshoot will be set up next. The discussion about the airline’s growth has mainly been focused on new routes out of its existing bases. Thus, while it would be exciting to see something established in Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, or Central Asia, we probably won’t see this type of news any time soon.
Where do you think the next Wizz Air base will be established? Where would you like to see the airline set up shop next? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.