Dubai: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s new airline, is a good long-term proposition and will provide its European owner Wizz Air with “significant” investment returns, according to CEO József Váradi.
The airline, a venture between Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi’s ADQ, “will force the industry to restructure,” the airline chief said. “We may have market opportunities that we otherwise would not have – from a strategic perspective, I am very optimistic about Abu Dhabi and clearly I think this is the right move.”
Through its new hub, Wizz Air hopes to operate flights to South Asia, and India in particular, which accounts for around a third of the UAE’s passenger traffic. “We will see significant returns on our investment, (but) the short term is difficult as Abu Dhabi remains a closed market,” said Váradi. “I think we are listening to various plans that soon – perhaps within a few months – their market will open.”
An Abu Dhabi official confirmed that the emirate will lift the quarantine for international arrivals from 1 July. The move is expected to be a big boost for airlines, struggling with low demand under current 10-day quarantine requirements.
Given the circumstances, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has been cautious in its approach to launching flights and building its network. “We take the time to settle the strategic foundations during this period to ensure we have access to the markets. And whenever the market is ready, we can do it immediately and expand the business.
“One of the things we have clearly learned over the past 15 months is to be agile, but also to be agile in terms of operational capacity to move. We are very flexible in decision making in a way – and to some extent you can argue that it is opportunistic … because we are not really interested in this paradigm of strategic markets and all sorts of things. “