Flydubai Hits Turbulence on Planned Service to Indian City

DUBAI - Dubai’s start-up budget airline flydubai suffered its first operational glitch in an otherwise smooth rollout of new flights, acknowledging on Sunday that it was still trying to work out “the final few pieces” of the service it plans to launch later this month to Chandigarh, India.

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Tue 7 Jul 2009, 1:12 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:42 AM

Flydubai had expected its flights to the city to arrive there at around 11pm and take off again before midnight. However, Indian media reported that the Indian Air Force, which controls the airport at Chandigarh, had refused it permission to do so.

“Flydubai has been granted the rights to fly to Chandigarh based on the agreement between the governments of India and the UAE,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer Ghait Al Ghaith said in a statement responding to the reports.

Indian media suggested that India’s Civil Aviation Ministry, which regulates passenger flights in that country, was unable to persuade the air force, or IAF, to let flydubai schedule late-night flights. The Times of India reported that the IAF does not allow civilian planes to operate at Chandigarh after 10pm.

Flydubai’s service to Chandigarh is set to start on July 23, and the carrier has already made tickets available for sale on its Web site. A company spokeswoman declined to comment about whether flydubai was prepared to refund customers in the event that it could not operate its flights to Chandigarh as planned.

“The final few pieces of the operation are being worked out now and we do not anticipate any issues that cannot be resolved,” Al Ghaith said in the statement.

“We’re the first international carrier to fly to Chandigarh, so that means there is a little more coordination needed. Flydubai is excited about operating the first international flight to Chandigarh and we are working closely with the authorities to make this historic event a success.”

Since its launch in June, flydubai has introduced flights in rapid succession to Beirut, Amman, Damascus and Alexandria and Aleppo from its home at Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport. It expects to launch service next week to the Indian cities of Lucknow and Coimbatore.

A forced adjustment to the airline’s Chandigarh service, which it announced on June 24, would be a public relations setback.

Flydubai aims to serve at least 14 destinations by the end of this year.


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