Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is getting ready to open for bookings. At today’s results call, the airline CEO Jozsef Varadi said that tickets would go on sale before the end of this month, with the first flights scheduled to take off in October. He also revealed that the airline would base six aircraft at the new hub, double the number initially planned.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi open for bookings this month
In today’s results call, CEO of Wizz Air, Jozsef Varadi, commented on his plans for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Previously it was noted that the airline would launch later this year, but now things seem to be moving at a pace with tickets going on sale later this month. Flights will take off from October onwards. Varadi said,
“Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is well on track to get the airline delivered before the end of June. We’re planning on launching the airline by June, so will start selling tickets on the airline [this month].
“We are starting to fly inbound by Wizz Air Hungary to Abu Dhabi. We would expect the airline to become operational sometime in October.”
While there has been no announcements of routes from Abu Dhabi for the new Wizz Air airline, it seems we won’t have to wait long to find out what the game plan is here. Wizz has previously said it would consider any destination within six and a half hours radius of the airport where there is sufficient demand, so we could see some really interesting destinations being added to the Wizz Air network.
Varadi further revealed his confidence in the launch of his new subsidiary, explaining that Wizz will actually open Abu Dhabi with twice the number of aircraft it originally planned. He said,
“As a matter of fact, we have been upping our game in Abu Dhabi, increasing the initial fleet from three aircraft to six aircraft in the first six months. We think that the current situation actually brings bigger and more opportunity to the airline than what we saw before.
“We can be more agile and more aggressive there and we still have the plan to increase Abu Dhabi to 50 aircraft over the course of the next 10 years.”
Didn’t COVID curtail his plans?
During the Q&A session, it was asked whether Wizz Air considered deferring the project in light of the current situation. Given the number of airlines who are scaling back operations, downsizing fleets and pulling back from markets, it would have been completely understandable if the Abu Dhabi launch was put on ice for some time.
However, Varadi explained that Wizz never even contemplated not going through with the plans, saying,
“I don’t think it’s even crossed our mind that we should be deferring the project.”
Indeed, he sees the current situation as a stimulant for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, noting gaps in the market that only serve to encourage the airline’s ambitions. Indeed, the doubling down on capacity at the point of launch is a clear indication of its thirst to harness this market. Varadi explained,
“The likely backtracking of the industry and a contraction of markets, contraction of capacity… I think that actually ups our game in Abu Dhabi and creates a bigger opportunity, certainly at the start and even on a longer term basis.
“We’re treating Abu Dhabi more like ‘how much more should we be doing to take advantage of the situation’. I don’t think there’s anything that would have been challenged or questioned here. It’s quite the opposite. The discussion was really about can we do bigger and quicker than originally planned.”
What can passengers expect from Wizz Air Abu Dhabi?
For fans of the low-cost carrier, the experience on the new airline will be just as it is on the main carrier. Varadi explained,
“We’re going to be bringing some very exciting markets to the franchise of Wizz Air. But looking at it from a consumer perspective, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is completely seamless. You would not recognize the difference by flying a Wizz Air Abu Dhabi airplane or flying on a Wizz Air Hungary plane.
“We’ve maintained the same system to minimize complexities and costs … so if anything, the plan has just got enhanced.”
Clearly, Wizz has some big plans, not just for Abu Dhabi but for its entire network. It’s refreshing to see an airline making strong, positive moves towards the future in these incredibly uncertain times. Let’s hope his gamble pays off.