A Wizz Air aircraft. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: An agreement to launch a new cost carrier – Wizz Air Abu Dhabi – was announced on Thursday after a deal was reached between Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) and Wizz Air Holdings – central and eastern Europe’s largest low-cost airline company.

The new airline – which will be based out of Abu Dhabi – is expected to start operations with a fleet of Airbus A321neo aircrafts in the second half of 2020, with planned market routes set to cover all of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent with a total potential reach of 5 billion passengers.

“As Abu Dhabi International Airport continues its growth as a major gateway to the UAE and the wider region, we welcome contribution airlines, such as this new airline, and the impact this partnership will make to our continued national economic development,” said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Hamad Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports, commenting on the new agreement.

Jozsef Varadi, chief executive officer of Wizz Air Holdings said the company was looking forward to expanding its market and customer reach with its new partnership with Abu Dhabi.

“We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. ADDH’s deep-rooted knowledge of the local market, support and navigation in a new market for WIZZ is invaluable and will boost the successful development of this low-cost airline.

“This is a new path of growth for Wizz Air, built on our successful ultra-low cost business model, bringing affordable travel to even more customers,” he added.

Mohammad Hassan Al Suwaidi, chief executive officer at ADDH, said the new aiirline was part of Abu Dhabi’s strategy to boost its market share within the low cost carrier industry.

“As a trusted government partner with a clear mandate to boost key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy, we are proud to partner with Wizz Air, an airline with strong market presence and brand recognition in key European source markets.

“Through our partnership with Wizz Air, we aim to capitalise on the growing demand for budget travel and support the continued growth of Abu Dhabi as a world-class cultural and tourist destination,” he added.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is the second low cost carrier to have been announced in Abu Dhabi this year, with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi – a joint venture between Etihad Group and Air Arabia – also set to start operations in the second quarter of next year.

In total, the UAE will have at least four low cost carriers in operation next year adding to the two already existing ones in operation with flydubai and Air Arabia.