Dubai flights: Flydubai carries over 130,000 football fans to Qatar for Fifa World Cup

Passengers from as many as 171 countries travelled to Doha on the day of the match, with the carrier operating up to 30 flights daily specifically for fans


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 4:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 9:26 PM

Budget carrier flydubai on Thursday said it carried more than 130,000 football fans between Dubai and Doha during the Fifa World Cup.

The Dubai-based carrier operated 1,300 flights between Dubai World Central (DWC) and Doha International Airport (DIA) between November 21 and December 19.

Fydubai operated up to 30 daily flights specifically for Fifa World Cup fans, with a shuttle flight departing every 30 minutes during peak travel periods of the day. These flights were operated by seven of the carrier’s Boeing 737 aircraft which were temporarily deployed at DWC for the duration of the tournament.

Passengers from as many as 171 countries travelled to Doha on the Match Day Shuttle flights operated by flydubai. The top 10 nationalities in terms of the number of passengers were the UK, India, UAE, France, Argentina, US, Morocco, Jordan, Canada and Brazil, who made up to 60 per cent of the overall number of passengers travelling on these shuttle flights.

Overall, around half of the passengers were residents, and the remaining 50 per cent were foreign travellers who flew down to watch World Cup.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, said, on average, there was a delay of just two minutes at Dubai and Doha airports during the shuttle flights.

“We were the only carrier which had a link with Qatar’s Hayya system, which enabled the airline to have authentic information about the passenger around 48 hours before the flight. Around 75 per cent of passengers who flew with us had prechecked/preapproved. This made travel seamless for people to fly,” he added.

“We planned the load factor to be 50 per cent, but we achieved close to 60 per cent. The more important part is having the honour of carrying so many people and operating with a such high level of accuracy,” he added.

In a media briefing on Thursday, Al Ghaith further revealed that several people travelled more than once, and some of them even four times.

Flydubai operated the second-highest number of flights after Qatar Airways for the Fifa World Cup. “In terms of contribution towards the airline’s bottom line and financial gain, it was negligible,” he said.

“These shuttle flights enabled more football fans to travel and enjoy the excitement of the tournament with ease and convenience. Never before [have] there been up to 30 daily return flights between two countries in the region, and this shows the high level of commitment, efficiency and [the] collaborative approach required to successfully deliver this task,” said Al Ghaith.


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