flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith
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Dubai-based flydubai shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to challenge conventions within the aviation industry. The carrier, which has become a household name in the region, added a number of milestones this year making it one of the fastest growing airlines in the region.
Ahead of the Dubai Airshow, flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith, commented on the carrier’s achievements in 2013: “flydubai would not have been able to grow and develop so quickly if we did not operate in such a stimulating environment for business as the UAE. Our business model, which was built around our ability to be agile and flexible, has helped change the way people around the region travel and create free flows of trade and tourism.”
Less than five years since its launch on 01 June 2009, the airline remains committed to offering passengers convenient and reliable travel services and an unrivalled onboard experience. This commitment was reflected in the developments the carrier has made this year.
flydubai continues to grow demand for travel to destinations within a five-hour flying radius from Dubai. Benefiting from Dubai’s efficient aviation hub, the carrier has opened up routes to the primary airports of more than 46 previously underserved markets across Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe, Russia, the GCC, Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent.
flydubai has added 16 new destinations to its expanding network this year, bringing the total number of destinations served to more than 65. Malé (Maldives), Ha’il and Medina (Saudi Arabia), Odessa (Ukraine), Juba (South Sudan), Sialkot and Multan (Pakistan), Volgograd and Krasnodar (Russia) are a few of the additions. flydubai doubled its network in Russia to eight points and added its fourth point in Ukraine. The carrier continues to grow its GCC network with additional points in Saudi Arabia, Oman and increased frequency to Kuwait.
Along with adding new routes, the carrier increased the frequency of flights to existing destinations, such as Kiev (Ukraine) and Colombo (Sri Lanka) to a double daily service.
flydubai’s business model is built on the principles of efficiency by maintaining lower operational costs. Maintaining a young fleet with a high utilization rate are key factors that contribute to the success of this model.
flydubai’s order of 50 Boeing 737-800s, placed at the Farnborough Airshow in 2008, is due to be fulfilled by 2015.
By the end of 2013, flydubai’s hub at Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport will be home to a fleet of 35 aircraft, 13 of which will be configured with Business Class.
In the past two years, flydubai has more than doubled the number of destinations it flies to and has around 1,200 weekly flights. flydubai carried 5.1 million passengers in 2012 and has become the second largest carrier, by passenger numbers, operating out of Dubai International.
The success of flydubai’s sustainable business model is evident in its financial and operating performance, which was announced earlier this year. The carrier moved into the black for the second half of 2011, delivering three consecutive six-month periods of profitable growth. flydubai announced net profit for 2012 was AED 151.9 million (USD 41.4 million).
In a further step to diversify its funding sources flydubai has signed an agreement for USD228 million with five regional and international banks to finance six new Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
In June 2013, flydubai announced the start of Business Class services, an evolution of its passenger offering. The decision to launch the premium service was based on the demand for such a product as many of the routes flydubai serves do not have a Business Class option.
The new service which became available in October on select routes like Istanbul, Juba, Kabul, Kiev and Malé has been positively received by passengers, who can now benefit from faster check-in services, a dedicated business team, more comfortable and spacious seating and a variety of internationally inspired menus during their journey. All this is complemented by the convenience offered by Dubai International’s Terminal 2.
“Since day one, flydubai has been committed to delivering a unique passenger experience; we have already differentiated ourselves through our existing product offering, investing in new technologies and therefore it’s the next logical step in the evolution of our business model,” said Al Ghaith.
Although flydubai’s product offering is quite complete, it continues to invest in enhancing its Economy Class. Most recently, the carrier started giving passengers the option to pre-book their inflight entertainment and preorder hot meals from 40 AED only on select routes online.
flydubai Cargo, which began operations in 2012, transports a range of goods including perishable items, textiles, electronics, courier items, pharmaceuticals and general cargo.
At the start of 2013, the Cargo Division completed its first successful year of operations with an average of 3,200 tonnes of cargo transported each month, more than double the forecast for 2012. flydubai Cargo services operate to more than 65 stations across the network, while offering services to another 150 stations through its interline agreements with other airlines.
The flydubai team
As the airline matures, it continues to invest in its greatest asset, its people.
In 2013, the carrier rolled out a number of programmes to recruit and train staff across the business. flydubai employee numbers crossed the 2,000 mark. Hailing from 97 different nationalities, the carrier’s staff are a reflection of the city it operates from.
Along with its ongoing recruitment drive to attract 600 pilots by 2016, flydubai has launched a Cadet programme that trains and qualifies young Emiratis to become licensed pilots. flydubai aims to accommodate up to 100 Cadets in this programme over the next five years.
“With the ongoing advancements in infrastructure and regulations in the aviation industry, there is no limit to what we can achieve. As flydubai starts a new chapter in its product offering, we remain focused on fulfilling the vision that has been set for us by our leadership to support the travel, trade and tourism in the UAE,” concluded Al Ghaith.