Wizz Air Wants to Replicate European Growth in the Gulf

By David Hopwood | June 4, 2020

The Budapest-based LCC, Wizz Air announced in December last year that it would be establishing a ‘new’ budget carrier—Wizz Air Abu Dhabi during the course of 2020.

Quite a lot has happened since then.

© Wizz Air. Airbus A320 departing Moscow Vnukovo Airport

Nevertheless, in March the airline said that it would launch in the second half of this year—and it appears to remain on track.  The business model involves bringing passengers who might not otherwise visit the Emirate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (‘GCC’) and feeding them into the long-haul Etihad where necessary. The airline is 51% Abu Dhabi owned.

While the airline intends to begin with just three aircraft—the A321neo—it has plans to develop a fleet of 50 aircraft over the next ten years and 100 in 15 years. Its CEO, Joszef Varadi at the Arabian Travel Market Virtual yesterday pointed out that Wizz Air had grown its fleet to 100 aircraft in 15 years—and he sees no reason why that can’t be emulated from Abu Dhabi. ‘You should be looking at our platform, not necessarily just Abu Dhabi, we want to serve the UAE and possibly the broader GCC markets,’ he added.

Joszef Varadi CEO Wizz Air

Currently the parent Wizz Air,

  • Employs more than 3 000 people who
  • flew 40 million passengers to
  • 151 countries in
  • 44 countries on 710 routes operating
  • 120 Airbus aircraft and has
  • options on 20 further A321XLR examples.

Varadi has said that the airline industry is increasing its health and safety measures, he agreed that social distancing onboard aircraft and leaving the middle seat open were impractical. He’s not alone in that view.

He remains positive about the future and believes that Wizz Air is well placed to recover quickly. He believes that passengers would not want to pay full-price on legacy carriers for short-haul trips.

Even though Varadi claims that Wizz Air has cash reserves such that it doesn’t need to carry a single passenger for 24 months—he’s still a brave man in these uncertain times.

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