Wizz Air Abu Dhabi completes final step in regulatory process

Low-budget carrier receives air operator certificate from GCAA ahead of its maiden flight next month

R46MMB Luton/England - October 11, 2018: View from Wizz Air plane during flight on sunny day.
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Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between the Hungarian budget airline and Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, said on Saturday it completed its final step in the regulatory process before its maiden flight next month.

The airline received its air operator certificate (AOC) from the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), allowing it to begin operations.

The low-cost carrier is in compliance with all "applicable requirements and is fully capable of fulfilling its responsibilities and conducting a safe and efficient operation", a statement on state news agency Wam said.

"The AOC processes have been completed over the course of eight months, during a period of unprecedented crisis in the airline industry due to Covid-19, travel restrictions and lockdowns of countries," the statement added.

In September, Wizz Air said it postponed its maiden flight for the second time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to begin flying from the UAE capital on October 1, the airline delayed its start date to November 15.

"We congratulate Wizz Air for successfully obtaining the AOC after meeting all the required standards and passing all inspections," Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of the GCAA, said.

"We are proud to add Wiz Air as a national carrier in the UAE and I would like to thank all the employees of Wizz Air and the General Civil Aviation Authority team for the efforts that have been made for this achievement."

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi took delivery of its first Airbus A321 Neo at Abu Dhabi International Airport in September. The airline will add more A321 Neo aircraft to its fleet in the first six months of operations as it connects the UAE capital with cities in Europe and beyond.

"The issuance of the AOC marks the most important milestone for us as we have now received all regulatory approvals to operate the airline," Kees Van Schaick, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said.

"We have clearly demonstrated to the GCAA that we are fully capable of conducting a safe operation."

The airline will become the UAE's sixth carrier after Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Sharjah-based Air Arabia and Etihad Airways that began operations in July.

It will initially fly to Alexandria in Egypt, the Greek capital of Athens, Kutaisi in Georgia, Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus, the Black Sea port city of Odesa in Ukraine and Armenia's capital, Yerevan.