Dubai’s second airline flydubai will have a better fourth-quarter performance and also enjoys strong forward bookings till summer next year, driven by growth in the travel and tourism sector and the addition of new routes.
“The fourth quarter will be very strong, better than last year. Yes, we have strong forward bookings and this trend continues till summer next year,” Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said on the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow 2023 after signing an agreement for a purpose-built $190 million (Dh697.3 million) maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Dubai South.
On day 1 of the airshow on Monday, Dubai’s second airline placed an order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners worth $11 billion (Dh40.37 billion), diversifying its current fleet of all-Boeing 737 aircraft, which is a narrow-body aircraft.
The Dubai-based carrier recorded an exceptional summer also, carrying more than four million passengers between June and mid-September 2023, an increase of 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. “Now we are big enough to have our own MRO facilities. We are also now big enough to have our own training facilities. More importantly, we have to focus on being more agile and reducing our costs. For example, the training facilities on average reduce training costs for captains and pilots by 40 per cent and engines by 20 per cent. This evolution will help to grow and make the future stronger for us,” Al Ghaith said during the interview.
Hiring 230 engineers in a year
The Dubai-based carrier said construction of the new hangar and workshop will commence next year and is expected to conclude by the last quarter of 2026. Flydubai now has a team of 455 engineers working in line maintenance, technical services, materials and workshops, ensuring the airworthiness and safety of its fleet. “More than 230 engineers will join flydubai’s growing workforce over the next 12 months. This ongoing recruitment drive will ensure the airline is well-positioned for the opening of its MRO facility by 2026,” it said.
“When it is up and running in 2026, the MRO facility will bring us significant reductions in operational costs. Having our own in-country MRO facility will ensure a quicker turnaround of our fleet maintenance while adhering to the highest quality standards. This increased level of control will result in reduced downtime as maintenance tasks can be efficiently planned and executed, minimising any disruption to our flight schedules in the future and enhancing overall operational reliability,” said Mick Hills, chief operating officer at flydubai.
It operates a fleet of 80 Boeing 737 aircraft and will take delivery of more than 150 additional aircraft by 2030.
Focus on long-haul
He reiterated that flydubai is committed to both the airports – Dubai International and Al Maktoum International – and will grow as per capacity availability at the local airports.
In terms of destination, Al Ghaith said the widebody Boeing Dreamliner gives them scope to focus on wider areas.
“Dubai’s traffic composition is not the same now as compared to 10-20 years ago. It is going to grow and change. We believe that this change and growth is enough for us to expand and take a bigger map of the world to fly to. The majority of the new routes will be long-haul traffic. Then there will be some routes where we currently are short in terms of capacity. Wherever we have a lack of flexibility, we can deploy these aircraft and the majority of it will be new routes,” the flydubai chief said.