Despite global air travel being at a virtual standstill, Wizz Air plans to fast-track the launch of its new airline in Abu Dhabi before the fall. The Hungarian ultra-low-cost airline says it’s trying to launch Wizz Air Abu Dhabi this year, earlier than first planned. Wizz Air is currently sitting on 18 months’ worth of financial resources that it hopes will not only see it through the pandemic but also see it thrive.
Abu Dhabi launch brought forward
Wizz Air is one airline that refuses to be deterred by the wide-spread shutdown of the aviation industry. While the airline is operating at just three percent of its standard capacity, CEO József Váradi remains optimistic about a brighter future ahead.
On 22nd April, Mr Váradi joined a webinar in which he shared the fortunate financial standing of the airline. Among some of his sanguine announcements was the news that he was looking to fast-track the launch of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.
The brand-new low-cost airline was scheduled to begin service in the fall. However, it will try to launch now before the third quarter of 2020. When it does, it will operate many European routes out of its base at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). It will also be instrumental in servicing the Middle East, Asia, and Africa with a fleet of three Airbus A321neos. Furthermore, Váradi also has grandiose plans for the airline to acquire a fleet of 50 A321neos by 2030.
It seems, despite the coronavirus pandemic, he has not been put off.
When will Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launch?
At this point, it is only clear that Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will launch earlier than intended. Mr Váradi has not shared any information about exactly when this will be. However, considering that we’re nearly halfway through Q2 2020, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi could begin services in as little as three months.
In the Aviation Week Network’s Air Transport webinar this week, Mr Váradi said:
“We are trying to launch even earlier than what we originally planned, and the scale will be bigger. We are bringing a niche that does not really exist at this point in time. We’ll be stimulating the marketplace and that feeds into the strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi.”
With the airline industry at the state that it is, how will that be possible? Well, Wizz Air has shared that it’s sitting on funds that could see it through until October 2021 if it needed. It says it has a robust financial standing. Consequently, it is keen to use this strength to its advantage and push the growth it expects in Abu Dhabi.
How successful will building up an airline be at this time?
Will Wizz Air Abu Dhabi be a success?
Interestingly, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is not the only new airline that will launch amid the coronavirus pandemic. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is on track to start within the quarter. Evidently, launching a new airline right now might not be the most erroneous strategy.
In fact, there are distinct advantages. Regional routes are likely to be some of the first to open up once travel restrictions are lifted. If that happens, then operating a new carrier that services shorter Middle Eastern routes is likely one that’s going do well. What’s more, thanks to Wizz Air’s financial standing, the capital to support the airline’s launch is available.
However, given the uncertainty of the aviation industry, it’s difficult to judge how this will unfold.
Do you believe Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be a success? Is now the right time to launch a brand new carrier? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.