Low-cost European airline Wizz Air has decided to cancel a press conference due to be held in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday “out of an abundance of caution” because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Chief executive Jozsef Varadi had been expected to attend the event to announce further details about a new Wizz Air subsidiary that is expected to launch in the UAE’s capital later this year.
Varadi was due to provide an update on Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, including new routes expected to be launched by the airline. Wizz Air first announced its intention to form a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) in December and hopes to launch the airline in the second half of 2020.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will become the airline’s first subsidiary based outside of Europe. The decision to create the airline came just two months after local carrier Air Arabia revealed plans to form a joint venture with flag carrier Etihad Airways.
Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is also expected to launch in the second half of 2020, although scant details have since been revealed and Air Arabia has denied rumours about the airline’s strategy and initial routes. Whichever of the two airlines manages to begin operations first will become the first low-cost airline in Abu Dhabi.
Some analysts have questioned whether the local market can sustain two dedicated low-cost carriers but Saood Al Hosani, acting understudy of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism said the competition was “very much welcomed”.
Wizz Air intends to launch the new carrier with a fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft. It has not yet revealed how many aircraft will initially be based in Abu Dhabi.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.