One more airline could soon join the list of carriers serving the very busy and lucrative India-UAE sector. Wizz Air is eying the Indian market and could soon be deploying flights to the subcontinent destinations from its base in Abu Dhabi. Every major Indian and Middle Eastern carrier already flies between the two regions, and Wizz Air’s entry will only expand the choices for passengers flying the route.
Wizz Air is looking to fly to the Indian subcontinent from its Abu Dhabi base. Photo: Getty Images
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi eyes Indian subcontinent
According to the Khaleej Times, the ultra-low-cost carrier is in the process of getting regulatory approvals from the governments in the Indian subcontinent. If the permissions are granted, Wizz Air could start operations in the region as early as next year.
The report quotes Kees Van Schaick, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, as saying,
“We have all the approvals from the UAE side, and now we’re in the middle of the process of getting regulatory approvals from the subcontinent countries. It’s up to the destination markets to approve that. All the bilateral services agreements are in place. It is a matter of finalizing documentary and regulatory approvals, and then we are good to go there as well. We will see that happen sometime in 2022.”
The VFR segment of passenger traffic has bolstered Wizz Air’s hold in Europe. The budget carrier plans to do the same by capturing a market share in the ever-important UAE-Indian subcontinent sector.
The budget carrier is seeking approvals from countries in the region and could start flights next year. Photo: Getty Images
Important UAE market
India alone is a huge revenue source for Middle-Eastern carriers. It is the UAE’s largest country by seat capacity, so there’s little surprise that Wizz Air would want a slice of that from its Abu Dhabi base.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air traffic between India and UAE will be the fastest growing between 2021 and 2039. Passenger numbers between the two regions will grow 6.9% annually compared to the global average of 1.5-3.6% during the same period.
In August this year, CAPA advisory projected the Indian aviation market to be so large by FY30 that Indian carriers alone wouldn’t meet the demands of the passenger flying to the UAE. As such, there will be enough room to accommodate Middle-Eastern carriers to fill the gap.
Wizz Air is on a significant expansion spree, announcing a significant order with Airbus at the 2021 Dubai Air Show. Photo: Getty Images
Wizz Air on an expansion spree
The Hungarian ULCC is looking to grow exponentially in the coming few years. It recently placed an order with Airbus for 75 A321neo and 27 A321XLR airplanes with an option to purchase another 94 before the end of the decade. This takes Wizz’s total orders up to 429 aircraft.
Once it Inducts the A321XLRs in its fleet, Wizz Air could fly beyond India from its base in Abu Dhabi. With a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles, the aircraft will allow Wizz Air to cover all of China and go as far as Japan and Korea.
As far as India is concerned, it’s too soon to tell how much of an impact Wizz Air would have. However, if it manages to provide a good product with competitive fares, it could very well make decent inroads into the ever-expanding Indian aviation market.