From zero to hero? The rapid growth of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi
Wizz Air has announced four more routes from Abu Dhabi, including three to Greece, bringing its total network of routes from the capital of the United Arab Emirates to 29. This summer, three airlines will have up to nine weekly departures. United Arab Emirates to Mykonos – from zero before the coronavirus started. We watch what’s going on.
Wizz Air’s four new routes, shown below, follow the recent inauguration of Abu Dhabi in Belgrade and just days after the reveal of Santorini and ChiÈinÄu. The four courses are:
- Baku (Azerbaijan); bi-weekly from September 4
- Chania; bi-weekly from July 9 to September 10
- Mykonos; bi-weekly from July 7 to September 12
- Rhodes; bi-weekly from July 12 to September 10
Of course, most Greek routes are highly seasonal in the summer, with the delayed launch of other routes from Abu Dhabi allowing them to start and capitalize on at least some of the demand in peak season.
The launch of Greece’s new routes follows a travel corridor established in May between the country and the United Arab Emirates. Now, passengers with vaccination certificates issued by health authorities can travel between nations without having to quarantine themselves upon arrival. No wonder Wizz Air has focused on the country, as have Etihad Airways and flydubai.
Etihad and flydubai also add routes
Etihad Airways has announced Mykonos and Santorini from its Abu Dhabi hub in the past two days. Both will operate twice a week using A320s, and both will be one-on-one with Wizz Air, although they target somewhat different passengers. However, the ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) will start earlier, a day before in the case of Mykonos.
Meanwhile, flydubai will launch Dubai-Mykonos on June 18, with that link increasing to five weeks in July. It will share the code with Emirates, with the timing falling nicely at the major Emirates arrival / departure banks for connectivity. The two carriers are now “almost a merger”.
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Greek island demand is not significant
This summer there will be three non-stop routes from the United Arab Emirates to Mykonos. However, the demand from the UAE to the Greek Islands is not significant. In 2019, Mykonos, for example, had less than 5,000 point-to-point (P2P) round-trip passengers, according to booking data from OAG Traffic Analyzer.
Most of this traffic naturally took place in the height of summer. While three operators are clearly a lot, demand will be helped by low frequency services for the peak only, with demand being redistributed from the hardest to visit places. Etihad and flydubai will also target transit passengers.
Wizz Air offers 29 flights from Abu Dhabi
Wizz Air now offers 29 flights from Abu Dhabi to 17 countries, its website says. These routes use both aircraft from the Group’s unit in Abu Dhabi, which operates exclusively 239-seat A321neos, and the original Wizz Air Hungary. Abu Dhabi has played a crucial role in the growth of Wizz Air’s airport network this year.
52 departures the first week of September
While that may change, Wizz Air currently offers 52 weekly bookable departures from Abu Dhabi in the first week of September. Some 20 of the 29 routes are then bookable, as indicated below. Only Tel Aviv will be seven times a week. Like most of the European ULCC networks, the emphasis is on low-frequency P2P services which are often bi-weekly.
|Abu Dhabi to …||Departures the first week of September||Departures the first week of October|
Are you “Wizzing” anywhere this summer? Let us know in the comments.