Wizz Air is going full force when it comes to its new Abu Dhabi hub. The low-cost carrier aims to expand to 100 aircraft in the new base by 2035, says CEO Jozsef Varadi. In a recent webinar, Varadi expressed his excitement about launching Wizz Air’s new hub by the end of 2020.
Plans for the Abu Dhabi hub began in December last year, in a deal between Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) and Wizz Air Holdings.
The corona-crisis that plagued the aviation industry early this year has not deterred the ambitious carrier from its aim. In fact, the airline is still scheduled to launch fully in October. In the next few weeks, Varadi says the airline will focus on building up its network.
Following in Wizz Air Hungary’s footsteps
Intending to hit 100 aircraft in the next 15 years does not faze Varadi. Since the airline has done it before with its main Hungary base, Varadi is positive that the Abu Dhabi hub will be able to follow suit.
As mentioned by Varadi in the World Aviation Festival webinar with leading analyst and consultant John Strickland,
“This is an initiative that will take us to probably the scale of Wizz Air Hungary in the same period. So if you look at the numbers, Wizz Air Hungary made it to about 100 aircraft in 15 years. And Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will also make it to 100 aircraft in 15 years as well, if not more.”
At this point, Wizz Air exclusively operates Airbus A320s. Wizz Air Hungary boasts a fleet size of 122 Airbus, with over 260 aircraft on order – including the novel Airbus A321XLRs.
The carrier will launch from Abu Dhabi with six aircraft in its fleet, as opposed to its original plan of three. Varadi ensures customers that the experience of flying from the new base will mimic that of a Wizz Air Hungary flight.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily aviation news digest.
Prepping for the Abu Dhabi launch
At a time when flights worldwide were grounded, and airlines were taking a massive hit to its revenue numbers, Wizz Air continued to make headway for its Abu Dhabi hub. Tickets are set to go on sale at the end of this month.
Just last month, the carrier announced five routes out of Abu Dhabi that covers Eastern European destinations. Simple Flying previously reported that Wizz Air Abu Dhabi seeks to dominate flights in the GCC area as well. Seeing as Abu Dhabi is a well-connected hub to operate out from, the possibilities are endless.
According to Varadi in the webinar,
“We can capture 5 billion of the world’s population within a radius of six and a half hours from Abu Dhabi. We think it represents plenty of opportunities for the airline to develop its network.”
More bases across Europe
Wizz’s expansion does not stop there. The Hungarian airline is opening up three new bases in Europe – in Larnaca, Tirana, and Milan. With these three hubs confirmed, Wizz Air now functions out of 30 stations.
Operations at these new locations will begin next month. Larnaca and Tirana’s airports will accommodate two and three Airbus A320s, respectively. For Milan’s Malpensa airport, five of Wizz’s Airbus A321 aircraft will be stationed there.
Wizz Air continues to prove resilience amid the corona-crisis. It carried on operating flights, and there was no need to shelve any expansion plans. Post-coronavirus, the airline will possibly continue riding a high, considering it is a low-cost carrier.
According to Gulf Business, such airlines will “be in a better position to recover initially,” as cost-wise, travelers would “want to downgrade from legacy carriers.”
Many travelers will possibly switch to short-haul cost-saving flights after the pandemic dies down, and being just that will serve well for Wizz Air.
What do you think of Wizz Air’s new Abu Dhabi base? Are you excited that Wizz Air is expanding across Europe as well? Let us know in the comments.