New low-cost airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is to launch operations from the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi in the second half of 2020, the partners in the venture announced Monday.
State-owned Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company and Budapest-based Wizz Air said they “concluded the definitive agreement” to set up the new airline.
“Wizz Air Abu Dhabi plans to start operations in the second half of the year,” they said in a joint statement.
The venture will compete with another joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s giant Etihad Airways and Sharjah’s low-cost Air Arabia, to be launched in the first half of this year.
“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.
Like Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will operate from Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Launched in 2003 by oil-rich Abu Dhabi, Etihad has faced stiff competition from Dubai’s Emirates and Qatar Airways, and it posted losses in the past three years.
Airlines in the Arab states of the Gulf have faced a double hit from oil price fluctuations and regional political tensions.