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Wizz Air Abu Dhabi eyes fleet of 100 aircraft in 15 years, says CEO

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 3, 2020 | Last updated on June 3, 2020 at 05.21 pm
wizz air abu dhabi, joint venture, coronavirus, covid-19, Jozsef Varadi

(alamy.com/ae)

Wizz saw opportunities emerging despite the Covid-19 challenge, the airline's CEO says.

Budget carrier Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, which plans to start operations with six aircraft, aims to have a fleet of 100 planes over the next 15 years, a senior official said.

"The airline is cost-conscious and business-efficient. We have not had a free ride as we have been tested from competition perspective, which is a good thing. Competition with the likes of best competitors in the world simply made us a better airline. We are more focused, refined and sharper as a business model," said Jozsef Varadi, chief executive officer of Wizz Air.

"We have managed to take our EU fleet to 100 aircraft over 15 years. We will be able to achieve the same thing in Abu Dhabi, getting 100 aircraft in 15 years. We will be looking at serving not only Abu Dhabi, but the UAE and broader GCC markets," Varadi said during a webinar.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture with state-owned ADQ. The airline is scheduled to take off in October while tickets will go on sale from June to destinations across Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa.

The airline had initially plans to start operations with three aircraft but Varadi told Reuters that now it intends to start operations with six planes in the first six months.

Replying to a question about competition with Etihad Airways and upcoming budget carrier Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, he said: "Competition is good for consumers. We are happy to be tested in the UAE and compete with international and low-cost carriers. We have refined our business model which can win us. We can bring exciting low airfares and new aircraft. We will be flying the youngest fleet of aircraft," Varadi said during the webinar.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is also scheduled to launch operations this year which will intensify the competition in the UAE's aviation. The UAE already has four airlines operating in the country.

He predicted that the long-haul airlines will take longer to recover from the impact of coronavirus as compared to short-haul travel.

While Wizz has cut 1,000 jobs, the company has 1.5 billion euros in cash, which is good enough for the next two years, he added.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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