Dubai: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, UAE’s newest airline, is a good long-term proposition and will provide its European owner Wizz Air with “significant” returns on investment, according to CEO József Váradi.
The airline, a venture between Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi’s ADQ, will “force the industry to restructure,” said the airline boss. “We may have market opportunities we would not have had otherwise - from a strategic perspective, I'm very upbeat on Abu Dhabi and, clearly, I think that this is a right move.”
Through its new hub, Wizz Air hopes to operate flights to the South Asia, and particularly India, which represents about a third of UAE’s passenger traffic. “We will see significant returns on our investment, (but) short-term is difficult because Abu Dhabi remains a closed market,” said Váradi. “I think we are hearing various plans that shortly - within maybe a few months - their market will open up.”
An Abu Dhabi official confirmed that the emirate will remove quarantine on international arrivals from July 1. The move is expected to be a big boost for airlines, struggling with low demand under the current 10-day quarantine requirements.
Given the circumstances, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has been cautious in its approach to starting flights and building its network. “We take the time to sort the strategic fundamentals out during this period to make sure that we are getting access to markets. And whenever the market is ready to go, we can go with that immediately and scale up the business.
“One of the things we have clearly learned during the last 15 months is being agile, but also being agile in terms of moving operational capacity. 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 into this paradigm of strategic markets and all sorts of things.”