Wizz Air to launch new low-cost airline in Abu Dhabi
Fast-growing Eastern European ultra low-cost airline Wizz Air announced its plans to launch a new airline in Abu Dhabi in 2020. The Hungarian-based airline already has more than 100 aircraft connecting price-conscious passengers across Europe with its numerous bases, including several interesting routes from the U.K. to Norway, Iceland and Portugal, among others.
Wizz selected the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi (AUH) as a base for its new airline as part of a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADDH). Wizz will own 49% of the airline and ADDH will have 51%. Together, the airline plans to initially connect passengers from Europe to the Middle East, with future plans to connect passengers onwards to India, Africa and South Asia. The new airline is set to begin operations in 2020, though it's subject to government approval, including obtaining an Air Operator's Certificate.
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Wizz Air has a low operating cost, both due to its young, fuel-efficient fleet and high-density, single-class cabin configurations. Wizz will use the A321neo aircraft in Abu Dhabi, squeezing 239 seats onto each flight. This aircraft has a range of 4,000 nautical miles, so will provide new destination options. At the Paris Air Show in June, Indigo Partners, the private equity firm that owns part of Wizz Air, among other airlines, announced that it had placed an order for 20 A321XLRs for Wizz.
Though low-cost carriers are not yet as common in Middle East as in Europe, Wizz will become the second low-cost carrier to launch in Abu Dhabi next year alongside Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi-based Etihad and low-cost Air Arabia. That airline is set to commence operations between March and June 2020.