Wizz Air to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is seeking to increase its connectivity as part of its Vision 2030 economic transformation plan

A Wizz Air A320. Wizz is looking at expanding into Saudi Arabia. Reuters

Wizz Air, the eastern European discount carrier, signed a preliminary agreement with the kingdom's Ministry of Investment to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

The deal is said to allow the low-cost airline and Saudi to work together on potential investment and operating models to boost the country's tourism industry and increase its connectivity.

"The [memorandum of understanding] reflects a shared vision between the parties on the potential Wizz Air could bring to the kingdom to stimulate new demand, thereby making a significant contribution to Saudi Arabia's planned growth," Wizz said in a statement on the London Stock Exchange.

"The parties will work together to enable potential investment and operating models to benefit and add to the Saudi Arabian aviation ecosystem, boosting its tourism industry and significantly increasing its connectivity."

Saudi Arabia aims to generate 356 billion riyals – or just under $100bn – in investment into its aviation sector by 2030 as part of its Vision 2030 economic transformation plan.

The kingdom also plans to launch a new national airline to complement its existing national carriers, and to build a major new international airport in Riyadh, in addition to eight new regional airports.

Wizz already has a presence in the region in the form of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi — a joint venture with Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, which started operations in January 2021.

It doubled its capacity to four aircraft earlier this year as the UAE capital eased travel restrictions and said it was recruiting 100 workers in anticipation of an expected rebound in passenger traffic.

Last month, Saudi Arabia's flynas approved plans to increase its aircraft order to 250, as it seeks to become the biggest low-cost airline in the Middle East.

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Updated: May 10, 2022, 10:40 AM
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