Wizz Air Looks To The Middle East With Abu Dhabi Startup

Wizz Air is looking to join the Middle East low-cost carrier market. The European LCC has agreed to establish Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. The airline could launch as soon as the second half of 2020.

Wizz Air, Abu Dhabi, Middle East
Wizz Air is to launch a new airline in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Wizz Air

Wizz Air is becoming an unstoppable force in the European LCC sector. However, this isn’t good enough for the carrier which now wants to crack into the Middle Eastern market. The carrier is partnering with the Abu Dhabi developmental holding company PJSC (“ADDH”) in order to launch the new entity. The news comes at a time when Abu Dhabi based Etihad is looking to join forces with Air Arabia to launch its own LCC.

The details

Wizz Air is eyeing a joint venture in order to launch Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Launching in the second half of 2020, the airline has said its new subsidiary will initially focus on connecting to Wizz’s existing networks in Europe.

However, as time passes, the carrier will go on to expand to the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. The launch of the new carrier could be a huge boost for the European LCC, opening a tonne of new possible destinations across the globe.

Wizz Air, Abu Dhabi, Middle East
The airline will initially connect to existing European Wizz hubs. Photo: Wizz Air

The new low-cost Emirates?

Opening a new carrier in Abu Dhabi could open a number of significant doors for Wizz Air. For example, the carrier would be able to mimic Emirates’ connection model on a low-cost basis between Europe and Asia. The carrier has placed an emphasis on serving the Indian Subcontinent.

By serving a number of destinations in Europe, tied to destinations in India, passengers could get from A-B with one connection en route where a direct flight may not exist. This is as opposed to flying directly to a major Indian airport and changing onto a regional flight.

Let us take London Stansted to Amritsar in India as a hypothetical route. Currently, the only direct route between the two destinations is with Air India, a full-service carrier. flypop intends to launch as an LCC on that route.

In July, flypop’s CEO, Nino Judge, told Simple Flying that that route alone has an annual demand of around 200,000 passengers. Now tie in all the other possible start and endpoints.

Wizz Air, Abu Dhabi, Middle East
Could the airline become the new low-cost emirates? Photo: Wizz Air

Subject to approval

Of course, as with most deals of this nature, the proposed airline is still subject to the necessary regulatory approvals. The airline would be launched with Airbus A321 aircraft. With Wizz Air expecting 20 A321XLRs, it is possible that a couple could end up at the new carrier.

Speaking of the news, József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air Holdings, said: “We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. ADDH’s deep-rooted knowledge of the local market, support and navigation in a new market for Wizz is invaluable and will boost the successful development of this low-cost airline.”

What do you make of Wizz’s new Abu Dhabi airline? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!