Dubai: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the newest airline in the United Arab Emirates, is a good long-term proposition and will provide its European owner, Wizz Air, with “substantial” returns on investment, according to CEO Joseph Faraday.
“It will force the industry to restructure,” said the head of the airline, a company between Wizz Air and ADQ in Abu Dhabi. “We may have opportunities in the market that we wouldn’t have otherwise – from a strategic perspective, I’m very optimistic about Abu Dhabi, and obviously I think this is the right move.”
With its new hub, Wizz Air hopes to operate flights to South Asia, particularly India, which accounts for about a third of passenger traffic in the UAE. “We will see great returns on our investments, (but) the short term is difficult because Abu Dhabi is still a closed market,” said Faraday. “I think we’re hearing different plans soon – maybe in a few months – their markets will open.”
An official in Abu Dhabi has confirmed that the emirate will remove quarantine for international arrivals from July 1. The move is expected to be a major boost for airlines struggling with low demand under current 10-day quarantine requirements.
Given the circumstances, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has been cautious in its approach to initiating flights and building its network. “We are taking the time to sort through the strategic fundamentals during this period to make sure that we can get to the markets. And when the market is ready to take off, we can go ahead with it immediately and scale the business.
“One of the things that we’ve clearly learned over the last 15 months is flexibility, but also flexibility in terms of transfer of operational capacity. We’re very flexible in making the decision in a way — and to some extent you could say it’s opportunistic… because we’re not really in that model of markets. Strategy and all kinds of things.”
More to track …
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