Wizz Air, the Budapest based ultra low-cost Hungarian carrier, is planning to put India on its route map by connecting the subcontinent nonstop with services to the European Union once the Airbus A321XLR arrives in its fleet, according to a aviation industry journal.
The most obvious plan is to begin flights to India through its Gulf subsidiary, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, based on strong point-to-point demand between the UAE and India. Abu Dhabi would also become a connecting point to Europe for Wizz Air, Aviation Week quoted Wizz Air CEO Jozsef Varadi as saying.
“Over the longer run, we would be interested in connecting India directly to the European network, especially when the A321XLR becomes available to us,” Varadi said.
According to the report, Wizz Air has 47 A321XLRs on order. Airbus says it is confident about the certification timeline for the long-range variant, targeting entry-into-service in the second quarter of 2024.
Even though this plan cannot be executed in the short term, Varadi believes that Wizz Air could be a pioneer in bringing India closer to the EU as the ULCC looks east. In his view, Wizz Air is the logical operator of such services among the European carriers.
“I expect our first Airbus A321XLR toward the end of next year. The aircraft can do Delhi-London nonstop, for example … not from the whole of India, [but] from some parts of it,” Varadi said.
The fleet of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the joint venture between Hungary’s Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi state-owned holding ADQ, will be doubled from eight aircraft to 16 within the next 12 months.
Wizz Air itself has made significant investments to make its operations more robust. The ULCC doubled the number of people working in daily operations from 150 to 300, in a bid to improve its operations planning, maintenance control center, logistic department, and other functions.
The Wizz Air fleet is growing from 180 aircraft to 200 this year. “We are taking roughly around 40 aircraft deliveries a year, an average of three aircraft every month,” he said.