| 30 November 2023, Thursday |

Wizz Air suspends relaunch of Russia-UAE flights as criticism mounts

The Russian city of Moscow to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, flight schedule has been put on hold by European budget airline Wizz Air amid growing backlash over the decision to reopen this month.

The social media outcry, which included some demands to boycott the airline, was not mentioned in Wizz Air’s Friday statement postponing the flights until further notice; instead, it simply mentioned “industry supply chain difficulties.”

On Twitter, the airline had responded to criticism by saying the flight would be run by its Abu Dhabi venture, which is a registered carrier in the United Arab Emirates operating in line with the Gulf state’s regulations.

Other UAE carriers were operating with Russia, it added.

London-listed Wizz Air holds a 49% stake in Wizz Air Abu Dhabi whose aircraft carry the European airline’s name and branding. Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ owns 51%.

This month, Wizz Air said flights between Abu Dhabi and Moscow would resume from October. On Feb. 27, it had suspended all fights with Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

Wizz Air also holds airline operating certificates (AOCs) in Britain and Hungary.

European carriers have ceased operations with Russia, while Russian airlines are banned from European Union airspace as part of Western sanctions for the conflict, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.

The UAE has not imposed sanctions on Russia and instead said it sought to maintain a neutral position.

  • Reuters