LONDON – Airbus has delivered the first Airbus A321neo to Wizz Air Abu Dhabi (5W). A6-WZB (CN9429) performed its first maiden flight on August 7 from Hamburg Finkenwerder (XFW).

The aircraft departed XFW as WAZ602 to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH). It is understood that another aircraft, registered as A6-WZA will be delivered in October.

Services from AUH will commence on October 1 with the first flights to Kutaisi (KUT), Georgia and Odessa (ODS), Ukraine.

A6-WZB seen at XFW. Photo: Dirk Grothe

Hungary-UAE Venture

Wizzair Abu Dhabi was set up in December 2019 as an offshoot subsidiary to Hungarian low-cost carrier (LCC) Wizz Air (W6).

It is a joint venture between W6 and Abu Dhabi Development Holding (ADDH). W6 has a 70% stake in the airline, whilst ADDH has a 30% stake. They plan to commence operations on October 1, 2020, with flights to Kutaisi in Georgia and Odessa in Ukraine.

So far, 5W has announced six routes from its base in Abu Dhabi. These are Yerevan in Armenia, Larnaca in Cyprus, Alexandria in Egypt, Kutaisi in Georgia, Athens in Greece, and Odessa in Ukraine. Additionally, Alexandria and Athens routes will start on October 2, 2020, whilst Armenia will start on October 3, 2020.

A6-WZB seen at XFW. Photo: Dirk Grothe

Fleet Plans

Over the next 10 years, W6 expects 5W’s aircraft to grow to over 50 Airbus A320neo family aircraft. However, it is currently unclear whether 5W will exclusively operate A321neo or a mix of A321neo and A320neo when more new aircraft are delivered.

All aircraft are being delivered directly from W6’s existing order book for over 250 Airbus A320neo family aircraft, including 20 A321XLR.

A6-WZB seen at XFW. Photo: Dirk Grothe

Significant Confidence in AUH

Airways spoke to Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi earlier this month who gave confidence over thriving in this particular market.

With the likes of Etihad being a significant presence at AUH, Varadi remained optimistic about the level of competition out of the airport.

“There is a growing demand for low-cost travel in the region, and with no UAE airport having ever been used as a base for a low-cost carrier which originated outside of the Middle East, our new base at Abu Dhabi is the first of its kind.”

“What we bring to the UAE is unique – a lower cost and more efficient model than any other airline.”

A6-WZA, the second A321neo yet to be delivered seen at XFW. Photo: Dirk Grothe

Significant Steps for Wizz Air

In all, for Wizz Air, this is a significant step towards further expansion outside of Europe. However, focus in the UK with the likes of the London Gatwick (LGW) and Doncaster Sheffield (DSA) bases shows further room for growth in Europe.

For the Abu Dhabi operation, it will be interesting to see how successful the inauguration of Odessa and Kutaisi will be.

On top of this, route additions a couple of days after launch will see the airline take further strides into Eastern Europe and beyond.

Wizz Air first Airbus A321-271N HA-LVA spotted in Hamburg airport. Photo: Dirk Grothe

Featured Image: A6-WZA, a Wizz Air Abu Dhabi Airbus A321neo. Photo Credit: Dirk Grothe.