LONDON – Via their laid-out plans for the Airbus A321XLR, this aircraft could indeed make Wizz Air a global success story. Welcome to The Editor’s Corner.
The Editor’s Corner is an op-ed series from AviationSource Editor-in-Chief James Field, who is going to give his thoughts (Maybe controversial) on all things going on in the aviation industry.
In case you have missed the last 27, feel free to browse through them before you continue to read this piece:
- The Editor’s Corner #1: The Industry Isn’t Ready for Summer 2022 Demand
- The Editor’s Corner #2: JetBlue’s Offer for Spirit Airlines Will Change The American Airline Dynamic
- The Editor’s Corner #3: Boris Johnson’s Damage To The Aviation Sector is Another Reason for Resignation
- The Editor’s Corner #4: PLAY Will Transform The Market with a Post-Pandemic Edge
- The Editor’s Corner #5: Detriment of the Boeing 737 MAX & 787 Is Causing a 777X-Based Aftershock
- The Editor’s Corner #6: Qantas’ Plans For The Future Will Turn Around Negative Times
- The Editor’s Corner #7: The P2F Market Is Hotting Up…
- The Editor’s Corner #8: O’Leary Is Gunning For Another Cheap Boeing Order
- The Editor’s Corner #9: Ukraine Crisis: Turkish Airlines’ A350 Snap-Up from Aeroflot May Have Something To Do With A Red Carpet…
- The Editor’s Corner #10 – Ukraine Crisis: Lessors Will Not Win The Russia Battle
- The Editor’s Corner #11 – Spirit Airlines Are Slowly Changing Their Mind…
- The Editor’s Corner #12 – The Indian Air Cargo Market Is Hotting Up
- The Editor’s Corner #13 – Video Footage From RedAir Flight 203 Highlights Dangers of Carrying Luggage During an Evacuation
- The Editor’s Corner #14 – The Spirit-Frontier-JetBlue Battle for Merger Will Be Remembered As A Mess
- The Editor’s Corner #15 – Flyr, Norse & Norwegian Have Opportunity to Capitalise on SAS’ Woes
- The Editor’s Corner #16 – The Airbus & Boeing Battle Will Heat Up At Farnborough
- The Editor’s Corner #17 – My Predictions for Farnborough Were Well Off…
- The Editor’s Corner #18 – Why Do Airports & Airlines Fight Over Chaos When Government is to Blame?
- The Editor’s Corner #19 – Manchester Airport Has Resolved Its Chaotic Period – But Improvements Are Needed…
- The Editor’s Corner #20 – Ukraine Crisis: Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s Russia Return Was A Mistake From The Get-Go
- The Editor’s Corner #21 – More Than Meets The Eye to The Emirates-United Codeshare
- The Editor’s Corner #22 – Israel Banning Boeing 747s Will Have Massive Impact on Cargo Operators
- The Editor’s Corner #23 – Amid Their Chaos, Qantas Is Taking The Fight to Air New Zealand
- The Editor’s Corner #24 – The Russian Airline Industry Is Heading for a Nosedive
- The Editor’s Corner #25 – Downfall of Doncaster Represents The Beginning of the Regional Collapse
- The Editor’s Corner #26 – The A35K/Delta Order Rumour Mill Highlights Strong Momentum for Airbus
- The Editor’s Corner #27 – IndiGo Leasing 777s Reflective of Demand for Indian Travel
Airbus A321XLR Can Make Wizz Air A Global Success Story
With the A321XLR slated for entry in 2024, Wizz Air is beginning to think ahead in terms of how they can utilize this aircraft the best.
With the UK subsidiary commencing work on a network for the XLR, it shows the value of that particular market and how well Wizz could do with this aircraft type. I mean, for crying out loud, they recently launched a route between London Luton and Amman! The demand is clearly there!
The focus on the Eastern markets is something that Wizz is already expanding into, and it’s becoming clear that the Abu Dhabi subsidiary is providing good returns and strong insight into what is a new market for the carrier.
Wizz Air UK Commences Work on XLR Network…
According to a report from FlightGlobal, the airline has started work on planning its route network for its A321XLR aircraft as the carrier continues its expansion program.
Managing Director Marion Geoffroy mentioned that the UK would be a good market for this aircraft type, especially to the likes of Israel, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia.
“We’ve actually started the design of the potential network for XLRs”.
“We’ve secured some designations to countries where we currently don’t fly to.”
It is substantial that Wizz Air is going to choose the UK as one of the countries that will experience the A321XLR, as this will put some pressure on legacy carriers operating to similar destinations as the low-cost airline.
Airline is Looking Further East…
Within this briefing, Geoffroy mentioned that the airline’s focus is going to be further East rather than across the pond for such operations.
I believe that she is being very clever in mentioning this because the transatlantic market is too overcrowded, and the airline probably won’t be able to compete as well.
We already have the likes of Norse Atlantic, French bee, and others who have filled the remaining gaps worth of market share in that market.
The airline has said that its focus is going to be more on Asia and on the Indian subcontinent, which they have slowly started exploring through its Abu Dhabi subsidiary.
Geoffroy mentioned that this is wholly point-to-point.
“[We] don’t want to be replacing [the Gulf] carriers because we’ll not be offering a [connecting] service”.
“We’re still going to be point-to-point, but it will make connections easier. And for those passengers who are cost-disciplined and want to fly at the lowest price, that’s going to be very attractive.”
“Lowest cost will always be more attractive than getting hot chicken,”
Could Wizz Air Expand This Low-Cost Model Successfully?
Based on what Geoffroy mentioned in that briefing to the press, I personally believe that Wizz Air may be a winner here, as focusing more on the East could produce the success they are looking for.
However, Geoffroy is probably solidifying the views of Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, who in the past has completely discounted flying across the Atlantic due to the economics of operating well being quite slim.
However, not as many airlines operate from Europe into the East of the globe, highlighting Geoffroy’s point that there is market share there for the taking.
Either way, the next few years will be very interesting to watch, that’s for sure.
Will The XLR Make Wizz Air A Global Success Story?
The A321XLR, as it stands, does seem to be a significant and forward-thinking investment already for Wizz Air, and deliveries of the type haven’t even begun yet.
Through better cost efficiencies and subsequently not needing as much runway room, Wizz Air could generate a lot of profit interest in the secondary cities across the East.
The last few years of financial difficulty for consumers have also shown that passengers are quite happy to sit on a narrowbody aircraft for seven to eight hours, with Wizz Air believing that the sacrifice in comfort will be awarded better seats and personal devices for in-flight entertainment.
It also demonstrates that Geoffroy is already thinking about the problems and how they will be addressed when the aircraft eventually becomes operational in the future.
Overall: The Right Steps Have To Be Selected…
I believe that Wizz Air has a golden opportunity here to propel itself into the stratosphere through the use of the Airbus A321XLR.
However, the right steps have to be selected, whether it be route choice, passenger configuration, and much more. If they get it all right, then I think they will be a winner here.
As an opinion also, I think that Wizz’s expansion into longer-haul sort of flights could place some form of pressure on Ryanair to do the same in the future.
If the expansion into the East goes off without a hitch, then O’Leary could always change his mind and begin to compete with the carrier for more revenue outside of Europe.
But for now, all we can do is sit back and wait to see what happens.