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UAE airline reveals how it offers cheapest fares

November 14, 2022

Bracing for a busy winter and tourism season, Michael Berlouis, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, in an interview revealed the several efficient and eco-friendly ways deployed by the airline

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s budget airline, is a name synonymous with ultra-low fares. Remember the Dh1 Abu Dhabi-Athens offer? The airline keeps creating a stir in the market with its cheapest deals but how does it manage to do so?

Bracing for a busy winter and tourism season, Michael Berlouis, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, in an interview revealed the several efficient and eco-friendly ways deployed by the airline to offer its customers incredible deals.

“So, I guess it’s not one thing. It’s the entire model. We ultimately try to decrease the cost of air travel down to really what is the minimum for us to operate safely and reliably. For example, the aircraft have more seats than our competitors. We will do more flights than our competitors. Our crew will basically go and then come back. We have a very small office team that does support the operations and manage it. And we are operating some of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the world, the A321 Neo, with the brand-new engine technology, and we burn about 20 per cent less fuel,” Berlouis said.

The airline has a fleet of six new Airbus A321neo aircraft, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noise footprint. It claims to have the lowest environmental footprint among its competitors in the region, supporting the airline’s long-term commitment to sustainability.

“So really, everything along the value stream for us is optimised. Try to lower the cost to the passenger and maximise the number of passengers on each flight. And really, that’s what allows us to basically have a cost structure that is similar to some of the ultra-low-cost airlines around the world. So, in this region, I know it's fairly new. But when you look at our pricing structures with what you can see in the US and Europe, it is not actually not that different.”

The airline flies to destinations like Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Dammam (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Greece), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sohag (Egypt), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others. Apart from promotions, Dh179 is an average fare for most destinations in the network.

Berlouis noted a trend emerging between popular places of travel during summer and winter seasons.

“What we found in the last 12 months of operation is that there are two very distinct seasons between summer and winter. And the routes that will do well in summer tend to do very poorly during winter, and likewise. Sarajevo and Baku do extremely well in summer and in winter Tel-Aviv would do much better. And we have other routes like Jordan, which year-round tends to do quite well, because there’s also lots of friends and family that want to visit. And realistically, our fares are very attractive compared to the competition. And what it does is that it brings people together and that people that haven’t been able to see their families for the last five years can now actually afford to do so.”

Plans for Indian subcontinent and Africa

Berlouis said the airline is looking at expansions into Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

“By the end of the year, we’ll have eight aircraft. We will be looking to expand further in Central Asia because we feel that is underserved from Abu Dhabi. And there is significant demand there. We are also looking at Africa. In the region, for example, in other destinations in Saudi Arabia and Doha. And lastly, the Indian subcontinent, which basically at some point, once we have regulatory approval, we would like to start flights there. I think the bookings are looking strong for December. Our outlook for next year is quite strong. We expect to be announcing a couple of more destinations in the coming weeks.”

Berlouis pointed out that contrary to popular perception the airline was not just receiving backpackers but Emirati families and residents too.

“Originally when we came in, everybody thought, well, you know, there’ll be a couple of backpackers that actually want to take Wizz Air, but everybody else will stick to the traditional carriers. And what we’ve seen is very different. So, yes, we have some people that, you know, will buy an ultra-low fare ticket. They will buy the ticket, they won't buy anything else, and they will travel with a backpack. However, what we see, our customer demographics, we have UAE nationals and residents, who want to go on a holiday in the Maldives, and they’re very happy to take Wizz Air because it means they can afford to spend more on the hotel, food and drinks in their destinations rather than paying to actually get there. Some UAE nationals are having second homes and they can now visit it often because it is more accessible. So, for us, it’s all about just decreasing the cost of travel and making it more accessible to everybody.”

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a joint venture by ADQ and Berlouis underlined that the Abu Dhabi government has been incredibly supportive, especially in connecting to new destinations. “We wish to give people more choices in terms of where to go on their next holiday and make Abu Dhabi more accessible for people to come in and holiday here.”


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