Plans by Wizz Airlines to expand in the Middle East continue, with the low-cost carrier announcing a host of new routes for Saudi Arabia from December 2022.
The airline is launching 20 new routes to Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman from European destinations including Budapest, Milan, Larnaca and Vienna. In total, over 1 million low fare seats are being put on sale, it said on August 25, 2022.
Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi said the new routes form part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that aims to boost the tourism sector.
“I see the Kingdom [as] a long-term strategic market for Wizz Air where we will continue to innovate and carry the flag of low cost flying for the benefit of the Saudi residents and visitors as well as the country’s diversifying economy,” Váradi commented.
Comments by Khalil Lamrabet, CEO of The Air Connectivity Program, an initiative of the Saudi tourism strategy, indicate that more routes could be on the way.
“We look forward to welcoming these new flights into the Kingdom’s expanding network and to working with Wizz Air to explore other route opportunities in the Kingdom,” Lamrabet said.
Wizz Air, which operates a fleet of 160 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, has its roots in eastern Europe but has been expanding its network in recent years, adding more routes from the UK and also setting up a subsidiary in the United Arab Emirates for flights from Abu Dhabi.
The carrier had planned to restart routes to Moscow using the UAE unit, but scrapped plans due to supply chain limitations. The plans to relaunch daily flights to Russia, which has been hit with sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine, had sparked fierce criticism.