Wizz Air Quietly Moves Its Operations To Abu Dhabi In Prep For Hub Launch

With very little going on in terms of passenger flights, Hungarian low-cost legend Wizz Air has taken the…

Wizz Air Quietly Moves Its Operations To Abu Dhabi In Prep For Hub Launch

With very little going on in terms of passenger flights, Hungarian low-cost legend Wizz Air has taken the opportunity to switch its UAE operations from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Previously operating to DWC, the airline will restart passenger flights into Abu Dhabi within the next two weeks. Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is still on track to start before the end of the year.

Wizz Air has moved out of Dubai and into Abu Dhabi. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Wizz arrives in Abu Dhabi

European low-cost airline Wizz Air has already begun sliding into Abu Dhabi ahead of its launch of a new airline based there. Previously flying into Dubai, the airline will now operate only to Abu Dhabi, with services slated to restart in the next 10 – 14 days.

In an interview with leading analyst and consultant John Strickland for a World Aviation Festival webinar, CEO of Wizz Jozsef Varadi shared his excitement for the move. He said,

“I think we have been gaining some experience when it comes to operating to the UAE, and there are two significant events that will happen in a fairly short period of time. The first is that we are now moving operations from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

“We think that Abu Dhabi airport will open up earlier than Dubai (DWC). And we think that, given our strategic initiative in Abu Dhabi, we should be showing up in Abu Dhabi. This is happening in the next few days.

“In the next 10 to 14 days we will resume flights to the UAE, and the airport we’re going to fly to is Abu Dhabi”

While this isn’t a full-on launch of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, it’s the first step in the process and a clear indication that things are right on track for the launch later this year. The airline previously said it would launch from Abu Dhabi with five routes to start with.

What’s next for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi?

It seems that there is no stopping this ambitious airline from launching its assault on the low-cost market in the Middle East. While the move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is the first catalyst for Wizz Air’s current level of excitement, the second part is equally inspirational. Varadi said,

“Secondly, also fairly shortly, we will shortly announce the commercial start of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. We are hugely excited about that initiative.

“We can capture 5 billion of the world’s population within a radius of six and a half hours from Abu Dhabi. We think it represents plenty of opportunities for the airline to develop its network. We’re going to start that initiative commercially within a few weeks, and operationally, we will be up in the air towards the end of the year as planned.”

Wizz Air, 16 Years, Still Expanding
Wizz Air is ready to take on the Middle East. Photo: Wizz Air

Varadi pointed to his ‘designed in’ economies and investment in new planes as measures of Wizz Air’s distinctively competitive style. He believes that while legacy airlines and hub carriers may struggle, Wizz’s business model will allow it to thrive in a post-COVID environment.

Not deterred by the coronavirus crisis

While many airlines are cutting their fleets and anticipating a slow recovery, Wizz has been one airline that has gone the opposite way. The airline has not deferred any aircraft deliveries, and is still looking eagerly towards an up gauging of its fleet to mostly A321neos over the coming years. Speaking about the impact of the current crisis on his plans for Abu Dhabi, Varadi was bullish saying that,

“As a matter of fact, it’s even increased our appetite, given the situation, as we’ve seen competition is getting weaker here or there. [We believe] we should be starting Wizz Air Abu Dhabi at a larger scale and this is what we’re going to announce.

“This is an initiative that will take us to probably the scale of Wizz Air Hungry in the same period. So if you look at the numbers, Wizz Air Hungary made it to about 100 aircraft in 15 years and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will also make it to 100 aircraft in 15 years as well, if not more.”

Wizz Air, Airbus A321neo, Trip Review
Varadi has ambitious plans for the new Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

While there’s no news on how many aircraft will be stationed in Abu Dhabi for its launch, Varadi’s ambitious plans for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi could see a rapid deployment of capacity into the region. He believes that his model of low-cost, safe, green transportation is perfectly replicable in the Middle East and beyond. He concluded by saying,

“Through Wizz Air Abu Dhabi we would hope that we could penetrate not only the UAE but also the whole of the GCC area.”

The GCC area includes the UAE, but also extends to five further nations including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain. Wizz already flies to Israel, so it wouldn’t be entirely unexpected to see it eyeing related states including Jordan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq in the future too.

With Wizz due to provide its investors update in a week’s time, we’ll likely know more about the plans for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi then. Are you excited to see the launch of this new low-cost airline? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Emirates A380 Pilots Can’t Make Certain Approaches In Australia

Emirates Airbus A380 pilots do not have permission to make particular types of approaches when flying to Australia…

Emirates A380 Pilots Can’t Make Certain Approaches In Australia

Emirates Airbus A380 pilots do not have permission to make particular types of approaches when flying to Australia and New Zealand. Australian authorities share that two separate incidents in Melbourne during the summer of 2016 led to this decision.

There are specific restrictions in place for Emirates’ A380 pilots. Photo: Emirates

What happened?

According to Aerotime, Emirates forbids its A380 pilots from making required navigation performance (RNP) approaches. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) highlights how past events saw the superjumbos descend too low while on approach to Melbourne Airport. Ultimately, they fell below controlled airspace.

The first of the incidents happened on June 25th, 2016. On this date, an A380, conducting flight EK407, was arriving from Dubai when it descended below the minimum assigned altitude for a standard arrival route.

Then, less than a month later, another A380 performing a service with the same flight number also came dangerously close to the ground at the same location. Air traffic control (ATC) soon told the crew to ascend back to 3,000 ft, avoiding any dire consequences.

Emirates A380
Emirates has more A380s than any other airline. Photo: Getty Images

Different views

ATSB states that a key reason why the Dubai-based carrier went lower than expected was that it understood the approach differently to ground workers. A report by the group that was published on May 6th shows that the profile view of the approach charts used by Emirates varies from that of Australia’s ATC.

According to Aerotime, part of the report states the below:

“In these two incidents, each crew believed that they were conducting the approach and that descent below 3,000 ft was permitted by the clearance issued by the controller, while the controller believed the clearance would prepare the flight crew, but they would still fly the remainder of the STAR [standard arrival route] procedure, at the last assigned altitude until passing SUDOS,”

Moreover, the investigation concluded that in both incidents, the widebodies were operating in pilot selected modes as they descended. These were chosen by the crew to control the reduced track distance flown. Subsequently, Emirates banned its A380 pilots from conducting RNP approaches to the region.

Emirates a380 getty images
The carrier holds 115 superjumbos. Photo: Getty Images

New additions

Furthermore, a year later, the airport implemented a ground-based augmentation system and removed the Runway 34 RNP approach. Australia’s ACT also aligned its charts to International Civil Aviation Organisation standards. It added an altitude clearance level to its climb and descent clearances charts. 

Altogether, it is a positive move by Australia’s ACT to conform to international standards. The global nature of the aviation industry calls for the use of general guidelines.

With Melbourne Airport also overhauling its systems on the ground, perhaps Emirates will feel more confident in its approach going forward. However, flights to Australia are not the only operations seeing the airline’s A380 pilots descending lower than expected.

Simple Flying reached out to Emirates for comment on these events but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on Emirates Airbus A380 pilots not being able to make certain approaches in Australia and New Zealand? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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