Wizz Air Abu Dhabi to start operations on October 1

The UAE's sixth airline will service six new routes from the capital

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, will begin operations on October 1, with six new routes connecting the UAE capital with Europe and Egypt.

The low-cost airline said on Sunday that it will initially fly to Alexandria in Egypt, Greek capital Athens, Kutaisi in Georgia, Larnaca on the southern coast of Cyprus, the Black Sea port city of Odesa in Ukraine and Armeni's capital Yerevan.

"This announcement is the first step of a long and much-awaited journey as we are dedicated to developing our presence in Abu Dhabi, contributing to [the emirate's] economic diversity strategy while offering ever more affordable travel opportunities on our low fare network," Jozsef Varadi, chairman of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and chief executive of the Wizz Air Group, said.

"I’m confident Wizz Air will make a profound impact on the UAE’s economic development and ... its tourism industry.”

The new airline is selling tickets for as low as Dh129 on its website and mobile app to generate demand for air travel, it said.

The airline will begin operations with two Airbus A321 Neo aircraft, before gradually growing its fleet in UAE capital to six planes in the first six months of operations.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's six new routes will add an annual capacity of 350,000 seats, it said.

"Our ... A321neo aircraft, as well as our enhanced protective measures will ensure the best possible sanitary conditions for travellers," Mr Varadi said.

The airline underscored its hygiene measures to reassure travellers, highlighting protocols such as mandatory face masks for cabin crew and passengers, as well as aircraft disinfection procedures.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will become the UAE's sixth carrier after Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, another joint venture between Sharjah-based Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, which is set to begin flights on July 14.

"We view that as encouraging sign as there [are] still people ready to launch an airline as they anticipate [that] there is enough demand for air travel," Alexandre de Juniac, director general of International Air Transport Association, said during a July 7 conference call when asked about the new UAE airlines. "It is a good sign".

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's announcement comes as countries begin to gradually ease restrictions on travel, which came to a near-standstill due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Typically, when airlines emerge from a recession, they offer low fares to stimulate demand but in the case of this pandemic, it is a matter of restoring passenger confidence, Brian Pearce, Iata's chief economist, said during the industry body's July 7 briefing.