Almost Long-Haul: Wizz Air Adds Vienna To Abu Dhabi

Wizz Air has announced Vienna to Abu Dhabi. At 2,637 mi (4,244 km), it’ll be the carrier’s longest route next summer and not far off the 3,000 miles considered to be long-haul. It’ll replace Dubai, which will operate for eight weeks in February and March. In 2019, Vienna was Abu Dhabi’s largest unserved market in Europe, but then Etihad launched earlier in July 2021.

Wizz Air A321neo
Wizz Air Hungary, the original unit of the Group, will operate the route. Photo: Marvin Mutz via Flickr.

What’s happening?

The Austrian capital will now have two airlines serving Abu Dhabi. Wizz Air will begin on March 28th, the second day of the aviation summer season, with a Monday and Friday service. It’ll operate as follows, with all times local. It is due to be operated by Wizz Air Hungary rather than Wizz Air Abu Dhabi,

  • Vienna to Abu Dhabi: 12:40-20:15
  • Abu Dhabi to Vienna: 20:50-00:55+1 the next day

Wizz Air has been at the forefront of recent growth since the pandemic struck, introducing vast numbers of new routes, airports, and bases. It has grown significantly in Vienna, so, understandably, some routes have been cut. However, Abu Dhabi joins London Gatwick and Amman as new routes at the start of summer. (Amman was pushed back from December.)

Wizz Air Vienna
As Abu Dhabi will replace Dubai, Wizz Air has jointly promoted both cities for the first time. It should do this more often, especially as Dubai is far more significant for inbound tourism. Image: via Wizz Air.

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Why Vienna?

In 2019, Vienna was the largest unserved market in Europe from Abu Dhabi. Around 20,000 round-trip point-to-point (P2P) passengers flew between the two. If indirect traffic to/from Dubai is included, it rose to around 34,000 P2P. (Emirates operates a once-daily Vienna service using the A380.)

Etihad launched Vienna on July 18th, 2021, using the B787-9, a rather different proposition than Wizz Air’s single-class A321neo. Crucially, Etihad will also focus on transit traffic beyond Abu Dhabi.

For Wizz Air, it’s a shame that Etihad launched Vienna. However, the ultra-low-cost carrier will grow the P2P market with far lower average fares. It’s all about stimulating demand and market growth. It’ll focus on tourism to the UAE as a whole, hence the shift to promoting “Dubai / Abu Dhabi” in the above map – previously, it only mentioned Abu Dhabi.

Etihad Abu Dhabi to Vienna
Etihad currently operates twice-weekly routing Abu Dhabi-Vienna-Milan Malpensa-Abu Dhabi. Subject to the pandemic, it’ll serve Vienna once-daily non-stop from June 1st. Image: Vienna International Airport.

Vienna is its 35th destination from Abu Dhabi

Vienna joins 34 other Wizz Air Group destinations from the UAE capital next summer. It will also serve Alexandria, Almaty, Athens, Bahrain, Baku, Bari, Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Catania, Chania, Chișinău, Cluj-Napoca, Katowice, Krasnodar, Kutaisi, Kyiv Boryspil, Larnaca, Luxor, Moscow Vnukovo, Muscat, Mykonos, Nur-Sultan, Odesa, Rhodes, Salalah, Sarajevo, Santorini, Sofia, Sohag, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki, Tirana, and Yerevan.

At some point between January and the end of the winter season, some of the above routes will also operate from Dubai International or only from Dubai. However, Wizz Air will consolidate at Abu Dhabi from the summer. When writing, it seems that Kraków won’t switch from Dubai and will instead end, probably as it’s pretty close to Katowice, which will continue.

Where else would you like Wizz Air to serve in Europe from Abu Dhabi? Let us know in the comments.