Wizz Air Abu Dhabi shortlists EX-YU markets


Low cost carrier Wizz Air, which boasts bases in Skopje, Tuzla and Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, will launch its offshoot in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, during the second half of the year. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, which is 51% owned by the Emirate, will initially serve cities in Eastern Europe and Russia with a fleet of three new Airbus A321neos, increasing to fifty jets over ten years. In its recent third quarter earnings presentation, the budget airline listed potential markets which could be served from the Emirati capital, among which are Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro.

The only city in the former Yugoslavia which currently boasts nonstop flights to Abu Dhabi is Belgrade through Etihad Airways, a full service carrier. On the other hand, all of the markets in the former Yugoslavia listed by Wizz Air are linked to the United Arab Emirates through hybrid airline Flydubai, which maintains services to Abu Dhabi’s neighbouring Emirate of Dubai. Out of all the EX-YU markets, Flydubai has a notable passenger share only in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at 11.8%, making it the third busiest LCC in the country, behind Wizz and Pegasus. Emirates also maintains seasonal flights from Dubai to Zagreb. In addition to Wizz Air, Etihad is in the process of forming its own Abu Dhabi-based low cost carrier in conjunction with Air Arabia. Plans for Air Arabia to introduce services to the Serbian capital last year were abruptly halted following the launch of ticket sales, after which Etihad unveiled its plans for a joint LCC with Air Arabia.

Commenting on its plans in the Gulf, Wizz Air’s CEO, Jozsef Varadi, said during the third quarter earnings call, “I think Abu Dhabi is a unique opportunity for Wizz. I mean, structurally, we are very excited about opportunities going further east and we are more excited going further east than going west”. He highlighted some less-than-favourable conditions in Western Europe, including regulatory pressures and a lack of infrastructure investment. In establishing an arm in the UAE capital, Wizz Air will be competing on the same turf as Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. “I see this as a play to make the expanded and very flash new Abu Dhabi Airport busier. Perhaps they read it as a moment to capitalise on just how very full Dubai is and thus a big chance to make Abu Dhabi a really thriving hub”, Andrew Charlton, the Managing Director of Aviation Advocacy, said. Aviation consultant, John Strickland, noted, “While there could be duplication or conflict between Wizz and Air Arabia, in my view, both airlines have sufficiently large networks focused on very different geographies to allow development on a complimentary basis”.




Comments

  1. Anonymous09:01

    Belgrade makes the most sense, it's the biggest market and has had the biggest and most stable demand to the Middle East.

    I am betting on 2 weekly AUH-BEG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      I don't think it makes sense because of Etihad. I think what we could see is Air Arabia Abu Dhabi start flights.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:06

      We first have to see if the Air Arabia thing goes through, all the flights they were supposed to launch from AUH were removed from the system. Problems in paradise I guess.

      Serbia has the biggest community in Dubai on top of a solid tourist demand. Those are the two things they love. Arabian gasterbajter express.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:08

      Based on those flights that they initially loaded, when were they supposed to launch?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:10

      Don't remember, I think in summer 2020. It was mostly low yielding destinations like Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and a few regional destinations here and there.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:13

      I remember the routes I was just wondering whether there was some date. Thanks :)

      Delete
  2. Anonymous09:03

    I think it is most realistic that Wizz could launch Abu Dhabi – Skopje. Although Flydubai and Qatar have not had so much success, I think Wizz would be different due to brand visibility in Macedonia and the fact that they have a relatively large base in Skopje.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:04

      Both QR and FZ struggle in SKP, I doubt Wizz Air would launch it. That said, AUH is an unserved destination so they could ask for subsidies. However if they launch these flights then I am sure FZ would be done in SKP.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:58

      Wizz flies sometimes for 20-30 € to Dubai. with that pricing the A321 will be even small to fit all interested

      Delete
  3. Anonymous09:04

    Why not Ljubljana?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:27

      Interesting they did not list Pristina either.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:36

      Who would fly from PRN to AUH?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:39

      Well PRN did have flights to Sharjah if I'm not mistaken. Air Arabia.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:40

      They did
      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2013/01/air-arabia-fails-in-pristina.html

      Delete
    5. Anonymous11:08

      Why LJU? It's not really a popular destination, is it?

      Delete
    6. Anonymous12:18

      @9.40
      Like with Tuzla, these flights were only sold through tour operators. Would be a different story this time around. Also, it was many years ago.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous09:04

    Again no Slovenia :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:17

      We just can't catch a break with these Gulf flights haha

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:59

      they will not launch VIE until the long range 321 have arrived due to cost issues - Varadi (count LJU out because of that as well )

      Delete
  5. Anonymous09:04

    Will Wizz offer the possibility of connecting flights?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:28

      Don't think so. They will operate under the same strategy as in Europe.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:29

      Unless the government shelves that Air Arabia Abu Dhabi idea (which is looking like a possibility) and Wizz makes some deal with Etihad.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:34

      ^ That would make much more sense.

      Delete
  6. Anonymous09:06

    To me it would make most sense to start Sarajevo. Considering Flydubai has 3 daily flights in summer. At least they could do it seasonally.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:08

      I think the market is becoming saturated in SJJ. Also don't forget that FZ does so well on the market because they offer connections. If Wizz launches these flights then they would be relying on local demand which just isn't there.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:09

      No three daily this summer for FZ. Not enough planes (max grounding)

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:10

      They could always try Tuzla :D Didn't TZL say last year they held talks with Flydubai?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:14

      Tuzla already had LCC flights from the Middle East. Dubai - Tuzla by Air Arabia. It failed miserably.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:19

      That was back in 2011. Things have changed.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:34

      Remember that back then these Dubai flights were only sold through tour operators, not the airline itself. It was bound to fail.

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:38

      True

      https://www.exyuaviation.com/2011/07/slow-start-for-dubai-flights.html
      "The Tuzla – Dubai service was inaugurated yesterday with flights operating twice per week with an Air Arabia Airbus A320 and organised by a local tour operator in cooperation with Middle East Passenger Services Group. However, the flights got off to a slow start. Only a 25% cabin occupancy rate was recorded on the first return flight, although it’s still early days. "

      Delete
    8. Anonymous09:40

      Air Arabia has failed in every city they served in ex-Yu - Tuzla, Pristina, Sarajevo and Belgrade (planned).

      Delete
    9. Anonymous12:15

      They have not failed in Sarajevo. They still fly there seasonally.

      Delete
  7. Anonymous09:07

    We will see if they introduce any ex-Yu flights. For sure the first route will be Budapest considering it's also their home and there is huge demand from UAE (while no flights from Budapest).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:09

      Wizz Air flies to DWC from Budapest and the route is a massive success as they are making it work despite massive competition from both EK and FZ.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:11

      Do you think it would work from AUH too, considering they fly the route from DWC which is relatively close to Abu Dhabi?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:49

      It's completely useless imho to operate both to AUH and DWC. They are well connected by a wide motorway with an allowed speed of 150kmh. From DWC you can be in Abu Dhabi in less than one hour driving time.

      DWC is actually located in between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous09:09

    I''m really surprised by Wizz Air with this decision to open base in Abu Dhabi. Hope it works out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:11

      Wizz Air needs a brand new market where they can live long and prosper. Eastern Europe is maxed out (very few places left to expand into), western Europe has not really welcomed them with open arms and they are bleeding cash there... so they need new markets which will become what eastern Europe was for them a decade ago.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:18

      It's smart that they got the local government to splash out money for it (with 51% ownership).

      Delete
    3. Nothing surprising, tbh. Europe is already extremely competitive as a market and they are looking to expand elsewhere. Even FR has reached out to markets such as Armenia and Jordan. That said, W6 also hinted "new" markets upon A321XLR arrival.

      https://wizzair.com/en-gb/information-and-services/about-us/news/2019/06/19/wizz-air-announces-order-for-20-airbus-a321xlr-aircraft

      As for AUH, it will for sure work out for BEG and perhaps SJJ as there is generally more demand to/from the Gulf area. It is also highly unlikely to affect EY as it relies mainly on transfer.
      LJU finally deserves a Gulf connection!

      The next logical step of course is to finally lift the visas to boost travel such as what happened in 2014 when many European countries benefitted from this.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous09:21

      As far as I'm aware most ex-Yu passport holders don't need visas to enter UAE.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous09:21

      ^^ Bosnia and Macedonia still do.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous09:25

      @Anon 9.18, it is also possible that there is some foreign ownership cap in the UAE?

      Delete
    7. Anonymous09:28

      Kosovo, North Macedonia & BiH need a visa; RS & MNE do not, as well as all EU countries.

      https://www.passportindex.org/comparebyPassport.php?p1=mk&p2=rs&p3=ba&p4=me&p5=rk&fl=&s=yes

      Delete
  9. Anonymous09:12

    My bet is that they will star unserved markets such Tirana which has no flights to the Gulf region at all. Serbia, Croatia and maybe MN will be next. Difficult to say that they will be successful in the Macedonian market if they commence flights as it’s already covered by Qatar airways and flydubai. The same for Sarajevo which has up to 3 daily flights with flydubai. Will see though as things progress.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous09:12

    Nice to see Croatia listed since they have very basic presence in the country. Perhaps they could start seasonal SPU since it's not served from the Middle East while I think there could be demand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:16

      But would there be enough P2P demand. Unlike Flydubai and Emirates in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, they can't rely on passengers from Australia and Asia.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:53

      Anon at 09:16
      They could if the interline-codeshare with Etihad.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous09:15

    What people should not forget is that Wizz Air will be relying only on point to point demand and they will have to fill out an A321. Not sure any market in ex-Yu is strong enough for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:15

      * markets

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:19

      +1 much more difficult proposition to make these routes work then FZ, EY or EK have.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:49

      + let"s not forget it is a budget airline with cramped seats and everybody has to survive this for 5 hours, just saying- it's not the usual 1 hour flight within Europe.

      Delete
  12. Anonymous09:24

    Good luck Wizz Air AUH

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous09:27

    No chance they can fill A321 to ex-Yu cities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:57

      lol sure. you said that to every route thy started

      Delete
  14. Anonymous09:28

    Sedeti 5.15 sati u konzerva sardine konfiguraciji nece biti ni malo prijatno?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:45

      My friend, it's no different than FZ and people from the Balkans rush to book flights with them.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:35

      Postoji monoštvo LCC linija diljem svijeta koje su u sardina konfiguraciji, oko 5h nije nikakav problem pored 10-11-12h od AirAsie ili Scoota (npr SIN-TXL).

      Delete
    3. Anonymous10:49

      Bas zamisljam seike iz Abu Dabia sa svojim zenama kako se guzvaju u Wizz-u.Hit. Milioni na racunu pa pravac u Wizz :) FZ je pun zbog transvernih putnika.Ne zaboravite da FZ ima cod sher sa EK,a Wizz prevozi P2P putnike.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous09:35

    What an odd decision for the government of Abu Dhabi to invest in Wizz Air and also be launching Air Arabia Abu Dhabi at the same time. Have they though this through?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:52

      +1

      Tbh it is very very questionable.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:48

      Makes sense, midfield will be opening this year, need to fill the gate capacity.

      Etihad will be positioned as a premium boutique airline and both ULCC (wizz) and LCC (air arabia) will operate for the migrant and low wage workers and some of the easternn european tourists.

      segmentation of PAX to these makes sense, and is in line with the EY narrow body fleet stripping TVs etc to be placed on these routes with wide bodies remaining in EY livery and full service.

      Delete
  16. Anonymous09:42

    Can't wait to see their first destinations. Hope someone from ex-Yu makes the cut.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous09:44

    I love you Wizz Air! Thank you for making it possible for us to travel the world. This AUH adventure is just the next step.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous23:18

      !!!Wizz Air thank you for making it possible for us to travel the world!!!

      Сунце ти калајисано ово је врх! Овај срећник је Визером обишао цео свет, замисли да је Визером ишао рецимо од Новог Зеланда преко Токија до Њујорка и Најробија, ма можда пут око света! Ово треба урамити и рам позлатити! Врх!!!

      Delete
  18. Anonymous09:49

    I have a feeling in the end they won't launch any ex-YU cities, they will just move DWC flights to AUH and that will be it, nothing more and nothing less. Ex-YU is still poor and yields are simply not there for them to justify such long, expensive flights. Maybe in about 10-15 years?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:50

      Do they really need 3 planes (to start with) just to move Bucharest and Budapest from DWC to Abu Dhabi?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:53

      Well they have more destinations from DWC so I am sure they will use them for those as well. Also they might add some more destinations in higher yielding destinations. I could see them launch Vienna or even Warsaw, why not? Venice is another option, Istanbul, why not that one as well?

      Delete
  19. Anonymous09:55

    It will be SPU!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous09:57

      Hmm or MBX

      Delete
    2. Anonymous09:58

      As you can see in the article, Slovenia isn't even listed as potential market.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous09:59

      Well maybe it's a surprise! After all Slovenia the past year has been nothing but a series of surprises. Also remember how EK said they are not considering flights to ex-YU and then BOOM ... ZAG happened.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous10:00

      Yes sure, they have left Abu Dhabi-Maribor as a surprise. Ok.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous10:38

      That sure would be a surprise but the move could make sense if they offer connections with EY!

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:40

      It's not happening.

      Delete
  20. Anonymous10:00

    Quite a few Eastern European markets could work from Abu Dhabi, especially seeing as Etihad has very poor coverage of Eastern European destinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous15:50

      Yes, I think they only serve Belgrade, Minsk and Moscow in Eastern Europe

      Delete
  21. Anonymous10:01

    Niš would work well because all Gulf carriers are outrageously expensive to BEG, even the fake LCC FlyDubai.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:33

      Maybe once Nish expands its terminal.

      Delete
  22. Anonymous10:04

    This move is yet another proof that Wizz Air is always a step ahead of its competitors. They are always setting the bar higher and higher for others to try to reach them. This kind of thinking outside the box always pays off, just look at their success in SKP. We went from a regional shack handling less than a million passengers to a regional player handing well over 2 million passengers.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous10:14

    Could this W6 Abu Dhabi clone really work successfully? W6 just cancelled SOF-DWC flights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:16

      Possibly because they will move it to AUH.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous10:29

      Sofia has nothing to do with AUH, the route was terminated because FZ crushed them on the route. They have transfers and a more convenient airport, not to mention more frequencies so more flexibility.
      Issue with Wizz Air in Sofia is that they no longer have anywhere to expand to. They shuffling destinations, throwing mud to see what sticks.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous11:11

      @24 February 2020 at 10:14
      They didn't cancel, they downgraded them to seasonal.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous16:50

      Since when is Bulgaria in Exyu?

      Delete
    5. Anonymous00:05

      Bulgaria is not ex-Yu but has got many similarities in many ways - even more than Romania or Hungary I think. Not to mention that aviation wise, things are quite similar too.
      It is also regulary discussed here, so no big deal really.

      Delete
  24. Anonymous10:33

    I could see them consider INI down the road as an alternative to overpriced BEG.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:12

      Overpriced?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:12

      I see very few airports in Europe where LCC are allowed to use jet-bridges.

      Delete
  25. Anonymous12:16

    Could work to SKP, BEG and either DBV or SPU in my opinion.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous12:43

    SKP is a given. it not only serves the macedonian market. due to its location it baseically can serve everything from Tirana to Nis

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous16:36

      Can't PRN also serve anything from Tirana to Nis. Why would they fly to SKP instead of TIA, PRN or INI?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous16:56

      lol as if Ryanair & Co dont fly to the Canaries or even TLV. for 40€ everybody will do

      Delete
    3. Anonymous17:02

      they are not even short-listed. for exact that reason

      Delete
    4. Anonymous18:29

      "In its recent third quarter earnings presentation, the budget airline listed potential markets which could be served from the Emirati capital, among which are Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro."

      As far as i know INI is in Serbia and TIA is not in ex-yu.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous19:13

      if they fly to Serbia its going to be BEG

      Delete
    6. Anonymous19:49

      You seem to know everything. First we have SKP is a given and now if they fly to Serbia its going to be BEG. I shouldnt bother arguing with you since you have a crystal ball that predicts everything

      Delete
  27. Anonymous12:51

    Varadi mentions lack of infrastructure investment in Europe as hampering their growth. Is this really the case?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:27

      Excuse

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:29

      It's not an "excuse" at all. Many airports have capacity constraints due to poor infrastructure.

      Delete
  28. Anonymous13:28

    wow at the fact that there will be 7 UAE-based airlines serving a country with a population of 9 million

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:54

      And all of the airports are within an hour and a half’s drive.

      Delete
    2. Yes, but over half of that population are foreign workers, plus both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are major global hubs.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous17:00

      and half od exyu is crazy for bling bling Dubai

      Delete
  29. Anonymous13:38

    Wizz knee cruncher special A321 will probably work well for flying in ex-yu workers to AUH, plus some tourists.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous13:46

    Anyone else finding is absurd that Wizz air slams other carriers for offering business class yet they launch a new airline which will in total only increase the number of flights in the world further? The hypocrisy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous13:49

      +10000

      Delete
    2. Anonymous13:57

      Their "eliminate business class" is just a PR stunt covered up as them being environmentally friendly or aware. The funny thing is, many people seem to be eating it up.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous15:48

      Exactly

      Delete
  31. Anonymous15:47

    Great

    ReplyDelete
  32. Anonymous17:12

    I consider that is more likely they to start flights mainly to Ukraine and Russia + some big Eastern European cities, but not ex-YU, but only the time will show...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Anonymous18:44

    No way they launch Belgrade. The market is extremely competitive with daily flights to both AUH and DXB on top of all the options via IST. Nice try Wizz but stick to your gasto routes.

    ReplyDelete

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