Flydubai keeps faith in Boeing

Abdul Basit/Dubai
Filed on March 28, 2016


Rules out change in $11.4b plane orders

 Flydubai has no plan to reconsider its new plane order with Boeing after the recent crash of flight FZ981 in southern Russia in which all 62 people aboard died.

After circling a southern Russian airport for more than two hours because of high ground-level winds and poor visibility, flydubai passenger plane Boeing 737-800 crashed during a second landing attempt on March 19. As a mark of respect, flydubai has retired flight number FZ981 from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don.

On November 17, 2013, flydubai announced a commitment for an order for up to 111 aircraft worth $11.4 billion from Boeing. This order includes up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX and up to 11 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800s. It was the largest single-aisle order for Boeing in the Middle East.

"We have no intention to reconsider the new aircraft order with Boeing and we remain confident in our fleet," a flydubai spokesperson told Khaleej Times.

Flydubai fleet include 50 new Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft and the airline will take delivery of more than 100 Boeing aircraft by the end of 2023. The plane deliveries will start next year and five aircraft will be received by year-end. The Dubai carrier has created a network of up to 90 destinations, with 18 new routes launched in 2015.

"No, I don't see any impact whatsoever as there is no evidence right now to point the blame at any one item," a senior aviation analyst responded when asked if there will be any change in flydubai aircraft order to Boeing.

"Airlines make investments for the long-term and they won't cancel orders on the back of an isolated incident - because at the moment that's what this is - especially since it's the first event of this nature that flydubai has faced," Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at the UK's StrategicAero Research, said.

Ahmad added: "Of all the commercial jets Airbus and Boeing build, orders remain intact and many airlines will wait to see what the official reports say to."

Flydubai's CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith has said it was too early to determine why the plane, which was just over five years old, crashed.

"In the immediate aftermath of the accident we have been focusing on two key priorities; care for all those who have been affected by the accident and support for the investigating authorities as they work to identify the cause," Al Ghaith told a news conference in Dubai.

Russian media say the two main theories under consideration by investigators are possible pilot error or a technical failure.

"Memory has already been retrieved from the black boxes, it's being worked on," a spokesman of the Interstate Aviation Committee, which is investigating the crash, told Reuters. "The decoding of the two black boxes may take between several weeks and several months," he said.

A 737 takes off somewhere in the world every three seconds - that's how widely used and reliable and safe that this family of airplanes is, he said.

Last year, US plane makers received orders for 768 Boeing 737 and delivered 762 aircraft. In Middle East, total orders were placed for 36 aircraft and 51 delivered in 2015.

- abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com 

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