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Wizz Air to add more routes after strong year

Wizz Air has 12 aircraft based in Abu Dhabi, with plans to expand to 50 in the next four to five years Creative Commons/Kevin Hackert
Wizz Air has 12 aircraft based in Abu Dhabi, with plans to expand to 50 in the next four to five years

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has reported a 150 percent rise in passengers this year.

The company, a joint venture between Hungary’s Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, carried 3 million passengers in 2023, up from 1.2 million in the previous 12 months, Johan Eidhagen, the managing director, told AGBI

It also doubled the number of its employees from 300 to 600.

“We are the fastest-growing airline in the UAE, as there is a demand in this region for low cost,” Eidhagen said.

Eighteen percent of travellers are Emiratis, he added: “It is our largest demographic segment of customers.”

Wizz Air operated more than 15,000 flights and added seven new routes, including Antalya, Turkmenistan, Turkestan and Cairo, bringing the total number of destinations to 40 in 27 countries. The airline plans to add further routes and increase flight frequencies.

Saudi Arabia is one area where Eidhagen believes there is room to grow. It flies to Dammam and Medina in the kingdom but he said the company is working with the authorities “to develop route opportunities”.

However, supply chain issues, aircraft shortages and wider market access are all presenting challenges, Eidhagen said. Countries such as India that have a big appetite for low cost are still not accessible. 

Eidhagen said that the airline managed to keep its fares flat compared to other operators by reducing operational costs, increasing the number of seats and using the latest aircraft. 

“We believe that increasing efficiency allows us to mitigate costs, including costs related to the utilisation of expensive sustainable aviation fuels (SAF),” he said.

“SAF is a short term cycle but in the long term we believe in technology and are looking at hydrogen.”

Meanwhile, Wizz Air plans to add destinations including London, Singapore and South Africa.

“We are the launch customer for the Airbus 321XLR coming in 2025, which will give us a longer range,” Eidhagen said. “Still, I don’t think we are a long-haul carrier.”

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