190621 flydubai
flydubai boosts 2023 summer schedule seat capacities to 5 million to meet growing demand Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Budget airline is raising seat capacity to 5 million to cater to what will likely be an exceptionally busy summer, according to its CEO.

This would mean an additional 1 million capacity to what the Dubai airline is operating now. The plan for te summer comes after flydubai put in a strong Q1-23, with passenger numbers up 50 per cent to 2.35 million. Number of flights totalled 19.000 in the three months.

According to Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, “We’ve never seen passenger traffic and business as much as we are experiencing this year and the last.”

The airline also launched its latest premium business class seat at this year’s ATM, which would be deployed to six destinations by the end of Q1-24.

New routes

A growing resident base and increases in the number of expats choosing to lead a retired life in the emirate has also driven air traffic. “Right now, point-to-point business is growing faster than the transit business at Dubai International Airport,” said Al Ghaith.

The airline has launched 12 new destinations this year. “We are launching nine new destinations over the summer.”

The nine summer destinations from June 21 to September 30 are Mykonos, Cagliari, Corfu, Tivat, Trabzon, Bodrum, Dubrovnik, Santorini, and Batumi. “Corfu and Cagliari are the new launches,” he said.

Are oil prices hampering demand?

Commenting on whether the surge in oil prices would lead to a spike in airfares, Al Ghaith said flydubai’s single-aisle Boeing 737 MAXs use 14 per cent less fuel than other aircraft, offering the airline better profitability.

“We are boosting our capacities and hope prices stay stable. But none of this has hampered demand,” he said.

The carrier is expecting delivery of 17 aircraft from Boeing this year. “2022 was a terrible year for airline deliveries, and I predict 2023 will also be challenging. We believe these issues will be largely resolved by next year.”

India is a treasure trove of untapped potential. While there is no change in the existing bilateral agreement, I believe there is still enough space for all new players in this market.

- Ghaith Al Ghaith of flydubai