Wizz Air’s expansion to Abu Dhabi in partnership with the state-owned Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company PJSC (“ADDH”) could bring the first low-cost carrier to the region. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi spells the potential for a Wizz Air global market, increased connectivity within southwest Asia, and multiple LCC Asia-Europe connections. The airline says that Wizz Air Abu Dhabi could be flying as many as 50 aircraft within the next 10 years.
Interconnectivity onboard Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
The previously announced Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has the potential to increase the parent airline’s client base to 5 billion people. With potential additional expansions of Wizz Air into destinations throughout the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s strategic location gives the airline a key destination between its existing European markets and future ventures.
While Wizz Air already services Dubai for select dates and destinations, the addition of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi means that travelers from the UAE will have more destinations from which to choose and a regional LCC with whom they can fly. Wizz Air has yet to formally announce the locations that will connect with Abu Dhabi, but the projection of 50 aircraft within 10 years indicates a major shift in how Wizz Air will facilitate connectivity in the region.
Tourism and the partnership advantage
By focusing on connections between Europe and Abu Dhabi at its outset, as reported by Routesonline, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi can boost tourism to and from the UAE capital. Perhaps that’s why Wizz Air partnered with ADDH, which according to The National is a government umbrella group in the UAE focused on oversight of agencies important to boosting the UAE’s international reputation.
Governments in the oil-rich Middle East are focusing on diversifying their economic sectors, due in part to the increasing prevalence of greener energy sources. Tourism is an obvious market for the UAE to tap into, with its offerings for international visitors ranging from seeing the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to taking care of business in central Abu Dhabi.
Working in partnership with ADDH gives Wizz Air an added advantage: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi can easily plan to work in partnership with other transit and tourism companies that are monitored and guided by ADDH. That also means that Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s travelers can expect an expedited process throughout their trip aboard the airline.
Cornering the market
If Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s arrival in the second half of 2020 precedes the proposed LCC joint venture of Etihad and Air Arabia, then Wizz Air will officially become the first LCC in the region. Even if it is not the first on the scene, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has a clear advantage: it will be the only LCC carrier in the region with a proven track record of quality LCC service.
Forging the path for LCC in Abu Dhabi has the potential to see Wizz Air transform from a prominent European LCC franchise to a global leader in budget travel. As noted by József Váradi, Wizz Air Chief Executive,
“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 operating over 50 aircraft within ten years.”