New Abu Dhabi budget airline to offer Dh400 flight to Europe
CAPITAL’S LOW-COST CARRIERS WILL ALTER RATE DYNAMICS ON KEY ROUTES
Fancy a flight to a destination in Europe for Dh300-Dh400? The UAE’s newest airline, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, is holding out that promise… provided you are not carrying anything beyond the hand luggage.
The airline, now rescheduled to launch services from October 16, and another recent entrant, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, will significantly alter the rate dynamics on key sectors. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi on Monday announced that it will be adding a third destination – Cairo – to its Egypt schedule later this month, and industry sources say it has already started to make an impression on ticket rates.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Abu Dhabi’s investment giant ADQ and Wizz Air of Hungary, issues a basic ticket within the Dh300Dh400 range as per its website. That is one-tenth of those charged by UAE’s flagship airlines for their less expensive seats.
Even Wizz Air’s more expensive deals like Wizz Plus & Flex, which allows travellers to carry up to 32 kilogram of baggage, is priced lower than what other airlines are offering for the same routes.
According to numbers provided by Al Tayer Travel, a oneway ticket to Budapest will cost Dh1,050 by Wizz Air, while Etihad and Emirates charge Dh3,250 and Dh3,000, respectively, to fly to the Hungarian capital.
A trip to Athens, and home to several heritage sites, will cost Dh1,100 on Wizz Air, compared to Dh3,080 on Emirates. To fly to Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, Wizz Air fares are Dh850 cheaper than what budget carrier flydubai is offering.
“We haven’t started seeing bookings for Wizz Air yet,” said a spokesperson for Al Tayer Travel. “We are expecting bookings to pour in from September 15 onwards due to the low ticket prices.”
The addition of these two airlines – Air Arabia Abu Dhabi launched July 14 – should make for interesting changes to the airline dynamics in the UAE. More so now as the industry tries to regain its footing after a horrific six months trying to cope with the pandemic fallout. Even the most optimistic forecasts suggest it could be 2024 before air travel gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels. It is into this space that Wizz Air and Air Arabia Abu Dhabi are flying into. The next round of route additions will have a significant say in setting their prospects.
“The secret is to sell volume — at a good price,” said Andrew Charlton, an aviation analyst. “Most aviation costs are fixed — so as long as they are covered there is scope to succeed. That said, the second-half of the equation is to keep costs as low as possible… that is a tried and true playbook.”
“Wizz bases its model on
lower fares that attract pricesensitive customers,” said John Strickland, Director of JLS Consulting. “These are frequently younger travelers.”
For its Abu Dhabi services, the demographics might change, but one factor will remain constant – selling tickets at the lowest possible rates. And if it were to add routes to London and other prime destinations from Abu Dhabi, it will have a lot going for it.