Wizz Air and nasair to Launch Dubai World Central Passenger Operations

United Arab Emirates (UAE) airport operator, Dubai Airports has confirmed that Dubai World Central will open its doors to passengers for the first time on October 27, 2013 when launch carriers, low-cost ventures nasair and Wizz Air commence scheduled operations from Dubai’s second airport.  The launch of passenger operations follows just over three years after the new facility opened to freight traffic.

Dubai World Central first opened for cargo operations in June 2010 and has quickly established itself as an emerging cargo airport in the region with 36 airlines (scheduled and chartered) handling 219,092 tonnes of air freight on 16,317 aircraft movements during 2012.  Dubai Airports launched general aviation operations there on April 28, 2011 following the General Civil Aviation Authority’s regulatory approval for flights carrying up to 50 passengers and crew on February 24, 2011.

The construction of Dubai World Central’s passenger terminal building was completed in 2012 and will be serviced by one A380 capable runway, 64 remote aircraft stands and has capacity for up to 7 million passengers per year.  The terminal will undergo a full testing and trial programme over the coming months to ensure a seamless opening at the start of the Northern Hemisphere winter season.  Upon completion, Dubai World Central will become one of the world’s largest airport with five runways and an ultimate capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

“A new era in Dubai’s already proud aviation story is set to begin,” said Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports. “The introduction of passenger services from Dubai World Central is the first step in the long term development of the airport and will provide an attractive alternative to travellers.  We are equally thrilled to welcome our launch airlines Wizz Air and nasair. We look forward to announcing additional airlines and services in the months to come.”

nasair already serves Dubai with flights to Dubai International Airport from Jeddah and Riyadh but will complement these with the new services from Dubai World Central.  “We will maintain our long-standing flights from Dubai International,” confirmed Captain François Bouteiller, Chief Executive Officer, nasair.  According to Bouteiller the new services from Dubai World Central would stimulate demand between Dubai and other destinations in nasair’s domestic Saudi network as well as encourage leisure traffic between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.  It plans to operate over 50 flights per week between Dubai and a number of destinations in Saudi Arabia, according to Dubai Airports.

““Dubai’s strategic location with its continuous growth in travel demand has encouraged nasair to expand its operation to Dubai World Central, the city’s future hub. nasair’s business travellers will from October have the opportunity to enjoy same-day travel between Dubai World Central and all major Saudi cities due to our convenient and seamless flight timings.”

Captain François Bouteiller
Chief Executive Officer, nasair

“Dubai’s strategic location with its continuous growth in travel demand has encouraged nasair to expand its operation to Dubai World Central, the city’s future hub. nasair’s business travellers will from October have the opportunity to enjoy same-day travel between Dubai World Central and all major Saudi cities due to our convenient and seamless flight timings,” he said.

In 2012 an estimated 2.42 million bi-directional O&D passengers flew between Dubai and Saudi Arabia, up a massive 45.5 per cent on the previous year.  During the period nasair has seen its own share of the demand between the markets increase from 6.5 per cent in 2011 to 7.3 per cent in 2012.  The low-cost carrier currently competes directly with network carriers Emirates Airline and Saudia and fellow budget operator flydubai which together provide non-stop flights from Dubai International Airport to ten destinations across Saudi Arabia. 

In the table below we highlight the largest O&D markets in Saudi Arabia from Dubai, all potential new markets for nasair’s growth from Dubai World Central.  Of the ten destinations, Jazan is the only location not served directly from Dubai, based on this month’s flight schedules.

SCHEDULED AIR DEMAND BETWEEN DUBAI AND DESTINATIONS ACROSS SAUDI ARABIA (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Total Demand

1

Riyadh King Khaled International (RUH)

988,833

40.8 %

2

Jeddah King Abdulaziz International (JED)

856,005

35.3 %

3

Dammam King Fahd International (DMM)

296,208

12.2 %

4

Madinah Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz (MED)

91,580

3.8 %

5

Buraidah Gassim Regional (ELQ)

56,943

2.3 %

6

Abha (AHB)

52,284

2.2 %

7

Taif (TIF)

39,183

1.6 %

8

Yanbu (YNB)

28,706

1.2 %

9

Tabuk (TUU)

4,292

0.2 %

10

Jazan (GIZ)

2,667

0.1 %

OVERALL TOTAL

2,423,508

-


The arrival of Wizz Air represents a new customer for Dubai.  The Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier will launch four times weekly links to Budapest and Kiev and three times weekly services to Bucharest and Sofia, enhancing air connectivity between the Eastern European capitals and the developing UAE metropolis. 

“I am honoured to announce Wizz Air as a launch customer and first international low-fares airline operating at Dubai World Central.  For us this is a hugely significant milestone, with our 10-year European success story now crossing borders far beyond Europe, sharing the benefit of efficient airline operations and low fares with many more international customers.”

József Váradi
Chief Executive Officer, Wizz Air

“I am honoured to announce Wizz Air as a launch customer and first international low-fares airline operating at Dubai World Central.  For us this is a hugely significant milestone, with our 10-year European success story now crossing borders far beyond Europe, sharing the benefit of efficient airline operations and low fares with many more international customers,” said József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer, Wizz Air.  “Wizz Air's fleet of 40 new Airbus A320 now operates across 32 countries and 93 airports and I am confident that our investment to grow traffic between Dubai and Europe will result in many more low-fare Wizz Air routes to be announced in Dubai.”

Two of the four Wizz Air routes will place it in indirect competition with UAE low-cost carrier flydubai, which currently operates from Dubai International Airport, although it will be the sole carrier to serve two markets.  The Dubai – Kiev city pair is the busiest of the four, with an estimated bi-directional O&D demand of 98,000 passengers in 2012.  This route has been served by Ukraine International Airlines since October 2005 and up until last year by fellow Ukrainian operator Aerosvit Airlines, while flydubai introduced its flights in September 2011.  These airlines all serve Borispol Airport in Ukraine’s capital city, but Wizz Air has its base at Zhulyany and will hope its unique offering will help attract custom.

Wizz Air will also face competition in the Dubai – Bucharest market, which has been served by flydubai since October 2012 and is also a key route of Romanian national carrier and SkyTeam alliance member Tarom.  In 2012, an estimated 47,000 bi-directional O&D passengers travelled on the route, up 21.0 per cent on the previous year.  Interestingly, although flydubai only served the route for the final quarter of 2012 it managed to secure a 16 per cent share of the traffic and helped push down average annual fares by 8.4 per cent.

The Budapest and Sofia routes, markets of around 14,000 and 10,000 bi-directional O&D passengers from/to Dubai in 2012 will see Wizz Air as the sole operator.  The airline would expect to stimulate these markets with the introduction of direct flights and a low-fare product.  Presently, the majority of customers between Budapest and Dubai connect on the flights of Qatar Airways via Doha, while passengers flying between Sofia and Dubai are mainly flying with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or Austrian Airlines via Vienna.


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