The inaugural passenger flight operated by Hungarian based Wizz Air arrives at the Al Maktoum International Airport. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulfnews

Dubai: Wizz Air, the only Europe-based low cost carrier (LCC) flying to the UAE, has carried 33,000 passengers between Dubai and Central and Eastern Europe since the flights were launched October 2013, a Wizz Air spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Gulf News.

Overall, Wizz Air carried 13.5 million passengers across its network in 2013, a 12 per cent year-on-year increase, and 86 per cent average passenger occupancy. On its Dubai routes, which has an annual passenger seat capacity of 240,000, its total average occupancy is roughly 82 per cent.

In October last year, Wizz Air was the first passenger operator at Al Maktoum International in Dubai World Central (DWC) flying to Bucharest in Romania, Budapest in Hungary, Sofia in Bulgaria and Kiev in Ukraine. Jazeera Airways from Kuwait and Gulf Air from Bahrain have since added operations to Dubai’s newest airport.

Last month, Jeyhun Efendi, senior vice-president (SVP), Commercial Operations UAE, Middle East, Europe, CIS, at flydubai said Wizz Air are driving down prices on flights from Dubai to Bucharest and Kiev, the two routes the carriers compete on.

While Wizz Air is not announcing any new routes from Dubai just yet, there is a fair chance competition between the European and Dubai low cost carriers could increase.

“We continue to bring low fares to new markets and are committed to growing our customer base in Europe and beyond,” Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi said.

Flydubai flies to 15 destinations in 10 countries in Europe and Wizz Air is increasing its Airbus A320 fleet to 53 from 45 this year and will launch operating bases in Lviv in Ukraine and Craiova in Romaina. Efendi has said that Lviv is a destination that fits with flydubai’s profile.