The launch of Wizz Air’s Abu Dhabi arm could pay dividends for the low-cost carrier by tapping into underserved markets and support the city by stimulating inbound tourism. The recent development reinforces the necessity for low-cost competition, and the airline will support the stimulation of leisure demand to the UAE during and post-Covid-19.

Abu Dhabi has lacked a home-based low-cost carrier

Abu Dhabi has been a full-service carrier dominating the market with Etihad Airways being the largest player. Low-cost competition has been limited to inbound airlines, often only serving one city pair, and the market has been in desperate need of low-cost disruption. Wizz Air’s launch will certainly disrupt the market, offering competitive fares and opening underserved destinations that could bear fruits for the airline.

The airline’s success in Europe will be extremely beneficial in its efforts to disrupt the market in Abu Dhabi. The ultra-low fares offered by the airline will stimulate demand in new markets and provide much-needed competition on high fare routes. Wizz Air is well-positioned to become a low-cost leader, and entering a market with little low-cost competition could provide big rewards.

The low-cost model will help Abu Dhabi’s tourism recovery post-Covid-19

Wizz Air will support Abu Dhabi’s tourism recovery post-Covid-19. The ability of the airline to offer some of the lowest fares will help address the largest deterrent to travel affordability.

GlobalData’s latest COVID-19 Recovery Survey (2–6 December 2020) showed that globally, a staggering 87% of respondents were ‘extremely’, ‘quite’, or ‘slightly’ concerned about their personal financial position. The carrier’s ability to target price-conscious travellers will enable the city to better capture those who may put off travel due to financial concerns.

Wizz Air’s model could be pivotal to supporting the city’s recovery efforts. The airline will provide affordable connectivity, which is likely to increase the attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a tourist destination. The catalytic impact increased arrivals could create will be huge. The city will be better equipped to compete with its nearest competitor – Dubai and could capture some of its demand if the airline can successfully compete by undercutting fares. This situation will be a win-win for both the city and the airline and could enable quicker recovery timelines in the process.

Wizz Air’s arrival in the Abu Dhabi market is likely to be very successful. If the airline can stimulate leisure demand and focus on untapped markets, it will deliver fantastic results for all involved.

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