Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has today firmed up plans to launch its own airline in the Middle East – Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Entering a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH), the airline is slated to begin services in the autumn.
Coming soon – Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has taken a step towards launch, with a date now being revealed for the launch of the new airline. If all goes to plan, we should see the new Middle East carrier begin service in Q3 of 2020.
This comes following the conclusion of a deal with the Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) to form a partnership in order to establish the airline. Flight Global reports that the airline has already begun proceedings to obtain an air operators certificate (AOC) and license from the United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority.
Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi commented on the announcement, saying,
“The joint venture agreement underpins our long-term dedication to bringing an economically and operationally highly efficient as well as environmentally most sustainable airline business model to boost Abu Dhabi’s aviation development. Wizz Air’s mission feeds into Abu Dhabi’s diversified economic strategy as we aim to stimulate traffic by creating demand to the benefit of growing Abu Dhabi’s touristic and economic diversity.”
Although the exact routes and destinations for the new airline are yet to be revealed, Wizz Air has said that the focus will be on establishing routes to markets in which Wizz is already strong. Therefore, we can expect to see routes to central, eastern and western Europe.
Aviation in Abu Dhabi is hotting up, as Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is the second low-cost airline to be announced in recent months. Etihad is likely to provide some tough competition for the new airline, with its own foray into the world of low-cost in partnership with Air Arabia. Added to this, Indian budget airline SpiceJet is launching its own UAE airline in Ras al-Khaimah.
Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, CEO of ADDH, told Gulf News that all this competition will be good for the nation, commenting,
“Tourism is a high priority in Abu Dhabi’s growth strategy. Significant investment is going not only into our airports but also the tourist infrastructure, including hotels, resorts and cultural attractions.
“Last year, the emirate achieved a record high of 11.35 million visitors and a key driver for this is the connectivity that enables people to visit Abu Dhabi easily and affordably.”
Abu Dhabi is plowing significant investment into its facilities and infrastructure, not just for tourism but for businesses too. Its Ghadan 21 investment program will see 50bn dirhams ($13.6bn) invested, with a view to turning the UAE into a business hub.
With both Emirates and Etihad competing for the premium market and now two more LCCs crying for the lower end, the aviation market in the UAE is looking to evolve. From its origins as very much a hub for long haul flights, it’s clearly aiming to become more of a destination in itself for the future.
Are you keen to see low-cost airlines flourish in the UAE? Is Wizz Air Abu Dhabi a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.