Impact of new visas, Expo 2020, World Cup drives passenger traffic, says flydubai chief

Dubai carrier has grown 80% bigger than it was before the pandemic, in terms of everything, driven by the successful handling of the situation


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 7:52 PM

Flydubai has grown by 80 per cent in 2022 as compared to the pre-pandemic year and expects 2023-24 to be strong as well for the budget carrier.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said believes that Expo 2020 Dubai, the Fifa World Cup in Qatar and the successful management of Covid-19 by the government, the new visa regime will continue to have a positive impact on the airline and regional aviation sector as well.

“We are 80 per cent bigger than what we were before Covid-19 started in terms of everything, driven by successful handling of the pandemic and Expo 2020. We are now seeing the positive result of these two events,” he said, adding that flydubai will close 2022 on a profitable note again.

The Dubai-based carrier reported a profit of Dh841 million in 2021 and revenue of Dh5.3 billion, an increase of 86 per cent. It carried 5.6 million passengers in 2021, an increase of 76 per cent compared to 2020, with an overall seat factor of 69 per cent.

“The way the government managed Covid-19 and successfully hosted the expo 2020, the UAE and Dubai have been witnessing good demand in terms of tourist flow. We are very optimistic. We see 2020 to be a good year and even 2023 and 2024 in terms of demand,” Al Ghaith said during a media briefing on Thursday.

Budget carrier flydubai on Thursday said it carried more than 130,000 football fans between Dubai and Doha during the Fifa World Cup. The local carrier operated 1,300 flights between Dubai World Central (DWC) and Doha International Airport (DIA) between November 21 and December 19.


“The Expo 2020 Dubai was successful despite the fact that it was held during Covid-19 and its effect will be felt later on. More people residing in Dubai now. With the introduction of the Golden Visa and Retirement visa, Dubai is being promoted as a city where people can live on a long-term basis. This brings more sustainable business than the event itself,” the flydubai chief said.

Al Ghaith says the first half of 2023 is looking strong and expects the remaining half to be good as well. “My reading is that next year is strong and 2024 even stronger than many people predicted.”

Flydubai will receive deliveries of 17 aircraft next year, expanding its fleet to 88 in 2023.

The airline has also announced seven new destinations for the next year.

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