Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the recently established joint venture between Hungary’s Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi-based holding company ADQ, on Monday celebrated the arrival of its first airplane—an Airbus A321neo—at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Wizz Air tentatively plans to launch operations with the new airplane, depending on the status of Covid-19 travel restrictions, on October 1. The new low-fare carrier’s initial route network includes Athens; Alexandria, Egypt; Kutaisi, Georgia; Larnaca, Cyprus; Odesa, Ukraine; and Yerevan, Armenia.
The December announcement of the joint venture between Wizz Air and ADQ came just two months after Emirati low-cost carrier Air Arabia said it would launch Abu Dhabi’s first LCC under a partnership with Etihad Airways. That carrier, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, launched operations on July 14, connecting Abu Dhabi International with Egypt’s Alexandria Borg El Arab International Airport and Sohag.
The arrival of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will likely challenge the leadership position of Dubai International Airport in the country. In contrast to Dubai International, which operates at near full capacity, Abu Dhabi’s airport holds spare space as authorities based its development plans on the continued growth of Etihad. That airline, however, in 2017 entered a downsizing process after accumulating heavy losses due to an unsuccessful strategy of inorganic growth through minority stake investments in global airlines, several of which went bankrupt.