The Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADDH) has signed a preliminary agreement with Wizz Air Holdings over the proposed establishment of an Abu Dhabi-based low-cost carrier.

A statement issued on Thursday, December 12, said Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will be formed via a joint venture, with operations expected to launch during the second half of 2020. The airline will focus on establishing routes to markets in which Wizz Air has existing, high growth operations, namely Central and Eastern and Western Europe, as well as the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Africa in the long run.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's establishment and launch is subject to, amongst other things, agreement and entry into force of definitive documentation with ADDH, the receipt of all necessary internal and external approvals and consents, and the new airline satisfying all UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) criteria needed to obtain an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC).

"We are proud that our first airline to be established outside of Europe is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE. ADDH's deep rooted knowledge of the local market, support and navigation in a new market for Wizz is invaluable and will boost the successful development of this low-cost airline," Wizz Air's Chief Executive Officer József Váradi said.

Indigo Partners-affiliated Wizz Air operates across two AOCs at present; that in Hungary - Wizz Air (W6, Budapest)- with sixty-nine A320ceo, thirty-four A321ceo, and seven A321neo(LR)s and Wizz Air UK (W9, London Luton) with three A320ceo and seven A321ceo. It is also mulling relaunching Wizz Air Ukraine (WU, Kyiv Igor Sikorsky).

In terms of outstanding inventory, Wizz Air has seventy A320neo, 179 A321neo, and twenty A321neo(XLR)s on order from Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) as of October 31.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is the third joint-venture carrier to be unveiled in the UAE after SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l) and its plans to establish an Ras al Khaimah Int'l-based LCC and Air Arabia (G9, Sharjah) which has already partnered Etihad Airways (EY, Abu Dhabi Int'l) for the launch of Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (3L, Abu Dhabi Int'l).

Earlier this week, the Director-General of the GCAA, Saif Al Suwaidi, told the Arabic daily Al Ittihad that he expects Air Arabia Abu Dhabi's licence to be issued in January, as it has now entered into the final stages of the process. Further details on the project are due to be announced shortly, he said.