Dubai Airshow 2021: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi expects to start flights to Indian subcontinent in 2022

Ultra-low-fare airline is in the process of getting regulatory approvals from countries' governments



By Waheed Abbas

Published: Wed 17 Nov 2021, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Nov 2021, 8:08 PM

The UAE residents from the Indian subcontinent will soon have a new choice to fly to their home countries at a more affordable rate.

The recently-launched budget carrier Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has applied for regulatory approvals to start flights to the ever-busy subcontinent destinations and hopes to start operations next year if the approvals come through.

"We have all the approvals from the UAE side, and now we're in the middle of the process of getting regulatory approvals from the subcontinent countries. It's up to the destination markets to approve that. All the bilateral services agreements are in place. It is a matter of finalizing documentary and regulatory approvals, and then we are good to go there as well. We will see that happen sometime in 2022," said Kees Van Schaick, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

As reported by Khaleej Times earlier, airfares between the UAE and the Indian subontinent have doubled in the last few months due to strong demand and low capacity.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2021, Kees said the traffic that made Wizz Air strong in Europe from those visiting friends and families will prove successful for the budget carrier on the subcontinent routes.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's parent firm Wizz Air Holdings placed an order for 102 Airbus A321 aircraft, comprising 75 Airbus A321neo and 27 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The UAE carrier will also benefit from the new order as it'll allow the airline to serve longer routes that stretch beyond five hours.

"Wizz Air Abu Dhabi looks forward to adding that type of aircraft that will open up the world. Instead of a five-hour range, the aircraft will operate for seven hours, opening up Western Europe, Africa and Asia destinations. That is very positive news for the future customers," he said.

Abu Dhabi-Northern Emirates bus service

The airline recently announced a new service between Abu Dhabi and Moscow, bringing it to a total of 33 announced flight destinations.

Kees Van Schaick said the airline is also seeking approval to start a bus service between Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates to ease connectivity for ease of its passengers.

"A bus service between the Northern Emirates and Abu Dhabi is very much a possibility. It comes down to approvals and this is something that we are working on which will make flying from Abu Dhabi to new destinations a very compelling proposition for future customers. That's a matter of time," he said.

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Launched in January 2021, the airline has carried about 700,000 passengers so far this year.

The ultra-low-fare national carrier will add a couple of aircraft in the coming months as the travel restrictions are eased by Abu Dhabi and air traffic continues to expand.

He said the airline had initially set out a target to deploy 25 aircraft in the first five years of operations. "We end up this year with four aircraft, so around five aircraft will be added every year."

The airline expects to reach break even in the next two to three years.

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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