Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s reduced quarantine needs for vaccinated fliers could turn out to be just the lift that airlines have been looking for.
UAE nationals and residents who are vaccinated are now required to undergo five days of quarantining on arrival in the emirate, down from 10 days. This is expected to stimulate demand on routes that were previously shunned by passengers.
It is a welcome move for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, which operates flights to Athens, Alexandria and Tel Aviv at the moment. Only Israel is on Abu Dhabi’s ‘green list’, whereby passengers are not required to for any quarantine.
Latest initiative has “immediately turned up in our figures - we see pent up demand for Athens being a typical leisure destination,” said Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. “We certainly think that the more countries are added to the green list of Abu Dhabi, the more that will benefit all the airlines, especially us.”
A majority of passengers arriving in Abu Dhabi still have to quarantine for all 10 days. “Self-isolation requirement in returning to Abu Dhabi is not helping traffic,” said Schaick. “We see that our sister airline is flying at the moment into Dubai, and they are able to offer a product for their customers where no such restrictions exist.”
Unlike its peers, Wizz Air has adopted a more cautious approach to building its network during the pandemic. Schaick said Wizz Air will add new routes starting from mid-May and added that a destination’s quarantine status will definitely be a deciding factor.
“We are very keen to open up new routes to ‘green’ countries,” said Schaick. “We see demand picking up lately and, as a consequence, we are considering an increase of frequencies to certain destinations, based on that demand.”