Dubai: Flydubai is considering an order of 50 new aircraft from Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS for delivery by 2016, according to an announcement on Wednesday by Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group.
“If the team reaches a decision, we hope to make an announcement at the Dubai Air Show.” The airline is looking at Boeing 737s and Airbus 320 models, he said. The Dubai Air Show is to open on November 17.
The order reflects the carrier’s fast growth rate in recent years. The low-cost carrier, established in 2008, has achieved profitability only in 2012 and is planning to add fresh routes and expand services; and especially so with the current expansion of the Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 2 and the construction of Concourse 4. The new developments are expected to drive throughput 90 million passengers by 2018.
Currently, the carrier is “adding capacity” and “increasing air mobility” within the GCC. Last year, passengers on its GCC networks were up 63 per cent. “In 2012, we carried 5.1 million passengers and with the addition of the Ha’il route in Saudi Arabia starting today (February 13), we have a network of 52 destinations served by a fleet of 28 aircraft,” said Shaikh Ahmad.
The carrier aims to cover as many destination points as possible. In the CIS countries, the carrier’s passenger numbers grew by 72 per cent last year.
Shaikh Ahmad said flydubai plans to fund the ongoing aircraft deal through their “own generated cash” and not through an IPO. Last year, flydubai recorded Dh2.78 billion in total revenues and Dh151.9 million in net profits. Nine new destinations were launched last year.
Shaikh Ahmad has also dismissed the carrier’s intent to go pubolic any time soon. The airline would continue to seek sale and leaseback financing agreements for aircraft; said Shaikh Ahmad. He also added that fuel costs made up 39 per cent of total costs last year.
Air Arabia and Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways are also in expansion mode in the low-cost market in Middle East.
Sara Algethami is a trainee at the Gulf News.
With inputs from agencies