Wizz Air Sees A321XLR Potential With Abu Dhabi, UK Units

The longer-range A321XLR narrowbody will be used to extend Wizz Air's network further east.

The first Airbus A321XLRs to join Wizz Air’s fleet will likely be based with its subsidiaries in Abu Dhabi and the UK once deliveries begin next year.

Speaking at Routes Asia 2023 on Feb. 16, Krislen Keri, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi's senior commercial manager, said the two AOCs offered the greatest opportunity for the group to extend its network further east. Wizz Air has 47 A321XLRs on order, with the first of those expected to join its fleet in late 2024.

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“While there might be an opportunity from Budapest to use the XLR, we believe that the most opportunities are out of Abu Dhabi and the UK,” Keri said.

“We will analyze and see where it fits best—we’re not ruling anything out as of now—but we know for sure the first deliveries will go to Abu Dhabi and the UK.”

The long-range variant is still undergoing EASA certification but entry into service is scheduled for next year.

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Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between Hungary’s Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi state-owned holding ADQ, offered more than 1.7 million seats across its network in 2022 and now operates flights to 25 destinations. Capacity will more than double to 4 million seats in 2024, Keri said.

On Feb. 14, the ULCC opened a new daily route from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Medina in Saudi Arabia and intends to begin serving Antalya in Turkey in June. Service to Salalah in Oman is also being restored.


Other destinations that have joined its route map in recent months include Samarkand in Uzbekistan and the Maldives.

“Through the XLR we intend to connect the furthest points of our network,” Keri said. “Obviously, Europe is in the pipeline, but most importantly, so is the Asia region. We’re looking at destinations in Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, as well as central and western Africa.”

Keri said the airline’s network through Abu Dhabi offers one-stop connecting opportunities, but its primary focus would continue to be point-to-point traffic. However, he added that the company was exploring ways to better highlight self-connect options to passengers.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has a fleet of eight A321neos and has a target of growing 20% year-on-year. The XLRs on order will carry 239 passengers and fly up to 8 hours.

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