Wizz Air, a European low-cost carrier, is taking its first steps outside the continent by expanding to the Middle East. The airline is establishing a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi (the UAE).
On December 12, 2019, Wizz Air announced that the low-cost carrier would establish a subsidiary airline in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Budapest-based airline will bring its purple colors to the Middle East region in a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company, states the company’s press release. This will be the second subsidiary that Wizz Air established and the first one outside of Europe.
The low-cost carrier aims to obtain an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) in the country and will operate the Airbus A321neo from the capital of United Arab Emirates. With a 4,000 nmi (7,410 km) range, the A321neo will provide Wizz Air’s newest venture access to a market of five billion passengers, states the press release, adding in that the new venture would first focus on the markets it already knows well. Starting from routes to Central, Eastern and Western Europe, it would later be moving on to such markets as India, the rest of the Middle East and Africa.
Wizz Air’s Abu Dhabi venture should commence operations in H2 2020, confirms the company, as the establishment of the airline, is still subject to governmental approval, including an AOC.
“Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be an incremental path of growth for Wizz Air, built on our successful ultra-low-cost business model, bringing affordable travel to ever more customers. We believe the new airline has the potential to be a significant player in the region,” said Wizz Air’s Chief Executive Officer, József Váradi.
“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,” Váradi added.
This is the second new low-cost carrier that will enter the market in Abu Dhabi. Previously, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia announced a joint venture called Air Arabia Abu Dhabi on October 16, 2019.
However, no further details were shared, including the preliminary launch date. Later, during the Dubai Airshow 2019, Etihad’s CEO Tony Douglas said that Air Arabia Abu Dhabi could start operating in March-June 2020. At the same event, Air Arabia inked a deal with Airbus for 120 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, some of which will go to the new venture.