Low-cost carrier Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is set to resume direct flights to Russia after the carrier suspended flights due to the war in Ukraine. The airline announced on Monday that it hoped to restart daily flights between Abu Dhabi and Moscow Vnukovo beginning October 3.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture between Europe’s Wizz Air and the ADQ investment and holding company which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. ADQ owns a 51 per cent stake in Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and it is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates.
The airline first launched flights to Moscow from the UAE capital in December 2021 but quickly suspended the service in February 2022 when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade neighbouring Ukraine.
Hungary-based Wizz Air has not announced any plans to resume flights to Russia from any of its other bases under the threat of European Union sanctions. Wizz Air’s planes outside of the UAE are also all registered in Europe and the UK and are therefore subject to Russian sanctions.
The UAE has refused to join international partners in imposing sanctions on the Putin regime and has instead welcomed Russians to its shores. The likes of Emirates, flydubai, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia have continued to fly to Russia throughout the crisis.
“We support the UAE’s travel and tourism industry by enhancing connectivity both regionally and globally, in line with national regulations and policies,” commented Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s managing director Michael Berlouis on Monday.
In a damning report into Wizz Air’s actions in the lead-up to the start of the war in February, the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) claimed the “Wizz management team ‘successfully’ managed to leave its Ukraine-based crews stranded in Ukraine”.
Wizz Air chief executive József Váradi dismissed the allegations, saying the airline never believed Russia was actually going to invade Ukraine but that it reacted to rescue staffers as soon as the war started.
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.