Dubai-based low cost airline flydubai has been named the region’s best value for money airline in a recent UAE poll, collecting 31% of the total vote.
Following just two years of commercial flights, flydubai topped the poll of more than 500 UAE residents who were asked to choose “The best value for money airline for travel in the region”. In second place was Dubai-based full service airline Emirates, which just pipped Air Arabia with 18% of the vote – 13% behind flydubai. Sharjah-based Air Arabia took third place in the poll with 16% of the vote – some 15% behind flydubai.
Missing out on a podium finish was Abu Dhabi-based full service carrier Etihad Airways with just 7% of the vote, 24% behind flydubai and 11% behind Emirates. Even when broken down by their home market, Abu Dhabi residents still thought flydubai offered the best value for money.
Dan Healy, the CEO of the Dubai-based research company Real Opinions, which conducted the research, commented: “The regional airline industry has gone through a transformation in recent years, emulating what happened in the regional flights sector in Europe at the turn of the millennium. The prolific growth of low cost airlines and the resultant consolidation in this industry segment has naturally created winners and losers, but passengers are the real winners as they now have more choice to better match their budget and required service levels.”
In a further boost for the aviation industry, the introduction of low cost airlines also appears to have grown the overall market as 87% of the 538 respondents agreed that “Cheaper airfares encourage me to fly more often in the region”. This is backed up with a sense of adventure to journey where they haven’t been before with 86% supporting the statement ‘‘I like experiencing new cultures and adventures”.
The parallel growth of the Internet in the Middle East has also come at an opportune time for
low cost airlines; more than 90% of respondents agreed that “There are greater cost savings and choice when you search and book flights online”.
Healy added: “We have been very active in the region researching the evolution of the Internet and advertising practices from a consumer’s perspective. Our past research has shown that 72% of UAE Internet users have purchased online and flights are top of the list.”
However, the research indicates there are still travellers who prefer to deal with travel agents, and on average 67% of travellers reported travel agents now also include low cost airlines in their quotes.