Best Budget Airline in Abu Dhabi: Wizz Air or Air Arabia Abu Dhabi
As the UAE-based airline, Air Arabia prepares to expand business in 2020, European low budget airline, Wizz Air is all set to enter Abu Dhabi. The announcement was made yesterday as Wizz Air Abu Dhabi stated plans to expand beyond Europe and offer budget prices on the Middle Eastern routes.
The expansion will be a major boost to connectivity in the Abu Dhabi market, which has been shrinking on the aviation front as Etihad airways cut routes by almost a fifth in 2018 as a result of undergoing losses worth billions. As said by Barclays analyst Rishika Savjani, “Eastern Europe’s biggest discount airline is targeting a market where low-cost carriers have only a 5% share, but strong demand from tourism, local travel and migrant workers.”
Wizz Air will be the fifth budget friendly airline in the airline industry of the UAE. Others being, SpiceJet in Ras Al Khaimah, flydubai, Sharjah’s Air Arabia and Jazeera Airways.
Sources claim that future initiatives of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be directed towards establishing routes in markets of Central and Eastern and Western Europe, where it already has high growth operations. Besides the Middle East, the firm plans to expand in the Indian subcontinent and Africa, in the long-run.
Flights to India would improve connectivity and make travel easier, after the collapse of Etihad partner Jet Airways India Ltd.
The Europe-based airline, has already set $50 million as the initial capital requirement for Abu Dhabi business. Sources claim that Wizz Air will use Airbus A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR planes already ordered.
Although coming up with great strategy to expand in the Middle East, Wizz Air is sure to witness some hurdles as it will have to face direct competition from the low-cost joint venture of Air Arabia and Etihad Airways’. The firm is all set to start operations from Q2 of 2020 out of Abu Dhabi.
Speaking at the Dubai Air Show, CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, Tony Douglas said, “What we’ll see is connectivity from Abu Dhabi using Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, which is going to be great for the traveling public, it will be great for Etihad, and we’re really excited about it,”
The Air Arabia was honoured with “Best Low-Cost Airline” in the Middle East and Africa at the AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards. Expressing his delight, the group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, Abel Ali said, “being voted as the ‘Best Low-Cost Airline’ in Middle East and Africa is another testament to our focus on delivering excellent value for our customers backed by superior service standards.”
Despite challenges, CEO of Wizz Air, Jozsef Varadi remains confident about the expansion plans as he believes his airline would have advantage as it would be cheaper. He added that the upcoming venture will qualify the airline as a national carrier of the UAE, giving it a UAE air operators certificate.
Currently, Wizz Air has 268 aircrafts on order to be delivered prior to 2026. Out of these, the A321XLRs will be delivered from 2023.
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