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Flydubai sees 2013 another year of remarkable success

Abdul Basit (INTERVIEW) / 1 April 2013

DUBAI - Flydubai expects 2013 will be another remarkable year in terms of growth in passenger numbers and opening new destinations, according to its top official.

By the end of 2013, the low-cost carrier will touch more than 60 destinations and its fleet size will reach 34 aircraft.

“We have announced 56 destinations and operating 54 destinations at the moment. We hope to touch more than 60 [cities] this year,” flydubai chief commercial officer Hamad Obaidalla told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Flydubai has 28 aircraft and during this fiscal year six more aircraft will be added to the fleet, Obaidalla said. With the current fleet size, the airline has the capacity to touch around 70 points, he added.

The Dubai budget airline will start four weekly flights to Juba, the capital city of the Republic of South Sudan, from April 21. In May, the carrier will start three weekly flights to Salalah, Oman.

Flydubai will also start three weekly flights to Sri Lanka’s newly opened Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport from May 21. Last week, the low-cost carrier got the approval to operate daily flight to Mattala. So there will be daily flight to Mattala from June 3 by the carrier.

On March 18, flydubai made a special touch down at the Sri Lanka’s second international airport as part of the official opening day celebrations. “Mattala is our second gateway to Sri Lanka. We are starting with three weekly flights, but I can assure you that there will be more flights soon,” Obaidalla said on the special flight.

Talking about the carriers experience since the launch of Colombo flight, he said: “It has been one of the great routes for us as a city.” The carrier launched four weekly flights to Colombo in July, 2010 that turned to daily flight from March 2012.

Flydubai opened two new sectors in Pakistan in the middle of March with the traffic rights to operate three weekly flights. Flights to the north-eastern city of Sialkot and Multan started from March 13 and 14 respectively.

Talking about Pakistan’s operations, he said: “We need more flights in Pakistan.” Flydubai operates double daily flights to Karachi and these are always full, he added. It’s very important sector for the airline.

Obaidalla, who joined flydubai after serving 23 years in Emirates airline, said there is huge difference between full service and low-cost airline when comes to operational challenges and other things. Launching an airline is not an easy task; you need to have right people, right aircraft and so many other important things.

Responding a question, he said: “I don’t consider myself as an individual. We at flydubai are one family and a team. “We aim to become the most successful and most profitable company in the world.

In February this year, flydubai announced its first full year profit of Dh152 million for 2012. The carrier also reported Dh2.8 billion revenues for 2012.

The announcement was made by flydubai chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. The chairman also indicated that flydubai is in talks to order 50 aircraft to meet the growing demand. Flydubai’s fresh 50-aircraft order may cross the $5 billion mark and the deal is expected to be signed during the forthcoming Dubai Air Show 2013, according to a senior aviation analyst.

Responding a question, Obaidalla said Dubai brand is an international brad and it’s not only for aviation. It really helps on one hand, but on the other hands you have to very competitive and meet very high standard of the Emirate.

Talking about getting traffic rights, he said it was very difficult 10 years ago, but now it’s easy comparatively as the governments and authorities concerned understand the benefits of linking the cities via air connections. He mentioned that around 170 carriers operate out of the Dubai International airport, which is among top three airports in terms of international passengers.

Established in March 2008, flydubai is the fastest growing start-up airline in the world. Since commencing operations in June 2009, the airline has established an operational route network across the Middle East, Africa, Subcontinent, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. Owned by the Government of Dubai, the carrier supports the city’s commercial and tourism sectors by serving all travellers and providing them with affordable air links to a range of destinations.



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