Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company and European low-cost airline Wizz Air, will begin operating from Abu Dhabi International Airport in the autumn after the agreement between the two companies was finalised on Monday.
The new airline's development team has already begun a process with the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority to secure an Air Operator Certificate and an Operating Licence, according to a joint statement from the airline's partners.
“Tourism is a high priority in Abu Dhabi’s growth strategy. Significant investment is going not only into our airports but also the tourist infrastructure, including hotels, resorts and cultural attractions," said ADDH chief executive Mohamed Al Suwaidi.
"Last year, the emirate achieved a record high of 11.35 million visitors and a key driver for this is the connectivity that enables people to visit Abu Dhabi easily and affordably. Our partnerships with Wizz Air and others will help elevate the UAE’s capital as a highly competitive regional and international destination for leisure and business travellers alike,” he added.
Wizz Air began operations from Katowice airport in 2004 and now flies to more than 600 routes from 25 bases in the region. The airline, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, expects to make a profit of as much as €355 million (Dh1.4 billion) for its 2019 financial year, it said when delivering its third quarter results to the market in January. The airline currently employs 3,000 people.
The joint venture in Abu Dhabi, which was first announced in December, is is set to begin recruitment activities "in the coming months" according to the statement. The new airline will help boost the economy and attract more visitors, in line with Abu Dhabi's Dh50bn Ghadan 21 stimulus efforts, it said.
Initially, the airline will focus on markets where Wizz Air has existing, high-growth operations in Central and Eastern Europe.
“Wizz Air’s mission feeds into Abu Dhabi’s diversified economic strategy as we aim to stimulate traffic by creating demand to the benefit of growing Abu Dhabi’s touristic and economic diversity. We look forward to welcoming passengers on board our young, green and ultra-efficient fleet,” said József Váradi, chief executive of Wizz Air Holdings.
The airline is one of two low-cost carriers currently being established in Abu Dhabi. UAE carriers Etihad Airways and Air Arabia are also in the process of establishing Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, which is set to begin operations in the second quarter of this year.