Wizz Air prepares to take-off from Abu Dhabi

Yet another low-cost airline is poised to take to the skies over the region. Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH), the state-owned enterprise of the UAE, announced last week that it plans to launch a local airline in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Wizz Air Holdings.

When the plans are realized, hopefully in the latter-half of 2020, Wizz Air Holdings — the UK-based airline company that provides low-cost air transportation services on short- and medium-haul routes across Europe and into the Caucasus and the Middle East — will compete with the new airline being planned by local operator Etihad Airways and Sharjah-based Air Arabia.

Whizz Air said that its new airline, the first established outside of Europe, will initially concentrate on its existing high-growth markets in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Western Europe, before spreading its wings into other markets in the Middle-East, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa.

Speaking about the upcoming airline, the CEO of ADDH, Mohamed Hassan Al Suwaidi, said: “We are proud to partner with Wizz Air, an airline with strong market presence and brand recognition in key European source markets. Through our partnership with Wizz Air, we aim to capitalise on the growing demand for budget travel and support the continued growth of Abu Dhabi as a world-class cultural and tourist destination.

For his part, the CEO of Wizz Air Holdings, József Váradi, added: “We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi… This is a new path of growth for Wizz Air, built on our successful ultra-low cost business model, bringing affordable travel to even more customers.” He added that with a fleet comprising Airbus A321neo aircraft, the new airline will gain access to markets with a total of 5 billion customers across Europe and beyond.

Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, said: “As Abu Dhabi International Airport continues its growth as a major gateway to the UAE and the wider region, we welcome contribution airlines, such as this new airline, and the impact this partnership will make to our continued national economic development. We look forward to building a highly successful partnership with them in the years to come.”