Dubai: The head of flydubai said on Monday the carrier has had talks with Airbus to potentially modify some of its existing Boeing 737 Max orders, after two fatal incidents involving the Max model.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of flydubai who also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Group, expressed dissatisfaction with Boeing’s communications regarding updates on its 737 Max’s, which are now grounded across the world. He also said he expects compensation from Boeing.
“It (communications) could be better. I say that because that would be good for everybody — to understand and so we can communicate better with our customers,” he told reporters.
11Number of Boeing Max 8 aircraft in flydubai fleet, which are now grounded
Shaikh Ahmad added that he was keen to know when the aircraft model would be allowed to fly again, and that there are still questions that need to be answered by Boeing. The chairman said that flydubai is looking at European rival Airbus’ A320neo model as a potential replacement to some of the 737 Max’s on order, but no such decision has yet been made.
“I looked at this option. I cannot really just not do anything about it,” he said. “I have to see when this aircraft (Boeing 737 Max) will be flying again and what assurance I’ll be getting and how much I’ll be compensated also for what happened since the incident.”
Shaikh Ahmad said that financial compensation from Boeing is flydubai’s “right” because it wasn’t the airline’s choice to ground the aircraft, but declined to provide details on how much compensation he is asking for.
“I didn’t ground the aircraft because I wanted to. Even if I wanted to fly it, I wouldn’t be able to because nobody will allow it to fly within their airspace,” he said.
I have to see when this aircraft (Boeing 737 Max) will be flying again and what assurance I’ll be getting and how much I’ll be compensated also for what happened since the incident.
Still, he described the Max 737 as “an excellent aircraft” but said that he still doesn’t have a definite date on when they’ll be allowed to operate.
Flydubai has had to ground 11 Max 8 and two Max 9 aircraft after the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority issued a ban on their commercial operations for safety reasons. This followed two crashes involving the Max 8 model, with the latest being of an Ethiopian Air plane that killed all 157 people on board.
Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, told Gulf News on Sunday that the grounding may have a “significant” impact of earnings if it were to last much longer, but stressed that he was confident in the aircraft model and remained committed to having it as part of the carrier’s fleet.