Key Points:

  • Hungary's Wizz Air seeks growth opportunities in the Middle East and Central Asia, potentially leveraging support from Hungary's Orbán government.

  • In partnership with the Saudi government, Wizz Air explores service expansion as part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 programme.

  • Robert Carey, Wizz Air's president, highlights the airline's successful route integrations and future expansion strategies in the region.

Wizz Air Shifts Focus Eastwards Amid Competitive European Skies

BUDAPEST — Hungary's leading budget airline, Wizz Air, is shifting its expansion sights towards the Middle East and Central Asia, reported Daily Hungary. The strategic move can be attributed to the dominance of heavyweight competitors such as Ryanair and EasyJet in Western Europe. Additionally, the Orbán government's potential assistance further makes Eastern markets attractive for the carrier. Nonetheless, Wizz Air maintains its significant presence in Eastern Europe.

Budapest to Riyadh: Wizz Air Eyes Saudi-Hungarian Partnership

An emerging report from Budflyer, an air travel enthusiast page on Facebook, hints at Wizz Air's intent to establish a joint venture between Saudi Arabia and Hungary. This claim was also validated by an article from Flight Global, dated 29 September. Wizz Air, navigating the post-COVID-19 skies, had previously initiated multiple routes to the Middle East in 2022. Building on this momentum, the airline has inked a deal with Saudi officials to explore avenues for new services, aligning with Saudi Arabia's progressive Vision 2030 initiative.

Robert Carey, the president of Wizz Air, commented on their ongoing projects in the region while attending the World Aviation Festival in Lisbon. "Our Saudi program has unveiled 23 new destinations within a year. The market's response has been heartening, mirroring the successes we've achieved elsewhere," Carey remarked. Currently, the airline operates flights connecting European cities to major Saudi hubs, including Dammam, Jeddah, and Riyadh. Additionally, the route from Abu Dhabi to Dammam and Madinah has been incorporated, further solidifying Wizz Air's Middle Eastern foothold.

From Abu Dhabi to Central Asia: Wizz Air's Broader Vision

Abu Dhabi, an Emirati crown jewel, witnessed Wizz Air's first joint venture in the Middle East back in 2021, facilitating operations for UAE flights. Carey shared insights into the company's progression, noting, "Our fleet in Abu Dhabi is gearing up to include around 12-13 aircraft this winter." He further outlined Wizz Air's diversified operational strategies, encompassing short to medium-haul flights covering various directions, with special mention of their routes to the Maldives. The airline's imminent plans include linking Abu Dhabi with Erbil, Iraq.

Underscoring Wizz Air's strategy, Carey emphasized the company's dedication to serving direct, point-to-point routes, avoiding the complexities of connecting traffic. As the carrier awaits the nod from Saudi regulators, having already secured a local partner, Wizz Air's trajectory in the Middle East and Central Asia seems poised for significant growth.