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Aug 9, 2022
Wizz Air’s Abu Dhabi Venture Set to Resume Russia Flights
Hungarian discount carrier Wizz Air Holdings Plc’s Gulf venture plans to resume flights to Russia even as sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine continue to outlaw services from the European Union.
Daily operations from Abu Dhabi to Moscow will recommence from Oct. 3, according to an e-mailed statement Tuesday.
While the EU restrictions ban flights to Russia by companies based in the bloc, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is majority owned by Abu Dhabi’s state-backed holding company ADQ, with Wizz itself owning only a 49% stake. Airlines in the UAE have continued services to Russia in the absence of local sanctions, with Dubai-based Emirates, the world’s largest long-haul airline, pledging to carry on flying there for as long as it is told to do so by its government owner.
Wizz Air has a wider span of operations than most discount carriers, allowing it to juggle aircraft deployment as demand rebounds from the coronavirus crisis. Like its peers, however, the company has come under pressure from fight delays and cancellations in western Europe amid widespread labor shortages.
A spokesman for Wizz, which is listed in London, said that while the Abu Dhabi venture will serve Russia using its own air operator certificate, planes on the group’s UK and Hungarian AOCs will not do so.
“Wizz Air Abu Dhabi is a national UAE carrier that operates in line with the UAE’s national regulations and policies,” he said. “The airline is resuming its operation to Moscow to meet travel demand for passengers wishing to fly to and from Russia from the UAE capital.”
Shares of Wizz traded 0.6% lower as of 11:11 a.m. in London and are down 46% this year.
(Updates with Wizz comment from fifth paragraph, shares in seventh)
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