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A low cost airline based at Dubai International Airport, fydubai was founded on 19-Mar-2008 and commenced operations on 1-Jun-2009. The LCC operates passenger services with Boeing 737NGs to destinations within the Middle East as well as in Africa, Asia and Europe. While not part of the Emirates Group, flydubai was founded by Emirates Chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
There is some cooperation with Emirates, which also provides connectivity (through baggage checking and dual boarding pass issuance) on “complementary” destinations.
Location of flydubai main hub (Dubai International Airport)
LCCs will continue to evolve into hybrids of the original core model. CAPA and OAG consider flydubai fits the LCC profile and it is included in our reporting on this basis. Please note: when reporting for an airline is changed from or to LCC the historical data is not affected and it can lead to a distortion in the current reported data. Contact us if you have any queries.
517 total articles
60 total articles
The United Arab Emirates’ newest airport, Dubai World Central (DWC), opened its passenger terminal on 27-Oct-2013 and its first commercial passengers. The operator was Wizz Air, the Eastern/Central European LCC, with a flight from Budapest. Wizz Air Group (which includes Wizz Air Ukraine) also launched Bucharest, Sofia and Kiev from DWC as the winter season commenced.
According to Wizz Air CEO József Váradi, Wizz Air expects to handle 250,000 passengers on services to DWC in the first year of operations. Based on the four routes launched this week, this would imply load factors averaging 95%. Although Wizz Air’s 2012 load factor was more than 85%, this seems very ambitious for new routes, even in the hyperbolic world of low-cost airlines. More likely, Wizz Air plans to add frequencies and/or routes through the year.
Either way, it demonstrates the carrier’s confidence in taking the narrowbody LCC model further than most on routes that look to be under-penetrated. Mr Váradi is even talking of adding flights to India from DWC.
flydubai is continuing to rapidly expand its extensive network in the CIS region with nine new destinations being launched in 2013. flydubai’s rapid growth in the CIS market will be followed by sister carrier Emirates, which recently unveiled plans to also serve Kiev from Jan-2014.
Dubai-Kiev Boryspil will be Emirates’ first service to the Ukraine and third overall in the CIS along with Moscow Domoededovo and Saint Petersburg. Further CIS network expansion by Emirates is likely to come as low-cost narrowbody operator flydubai continues to develop the Dubai-CIS market, growing routes to the point they can also support widebody service from Emirates.
Emirates announced on 11-Jul-2013 plans to launch daily Dubai-Kiev Boryspil service on 16-Jan-2014, using three-class, 258-seat A340-500s. Emirates’ service will be only the second carrier providing first class seats into Ukraine, following Uzbekistan Airways’ weekly Boeing 767-300 service.
For all of its strengths, one market the global powerhouse Emirates does not facilitate well is intra-Gulf travel. It may have about half of the Dubai-Jeddah market, for example, but a passenger wanting to travel in the six hour period between 10:25 and 16:15 will be found wanting. Emirates concentrates capacity on routes conducive to its global network, so a 777-300ER departs Dubai at 01:55 and arrives in Jeddah at 03:40. Competitors offer higher frequency, partially facilitated by having narrowbody aircraft, which Emirates does not. But such flights on competitors can be a challenge for profitability.
The solution for Emirates' shareholders was the hybrid LCC flydubai. Run independently of Emirates, flydubai has numerous flights within an hour of Emirates. Yet flydubai has carved its own niche, not only serving routes Emirates does not (largely due to the latter's widebody-only fleet), but interlining with Emirates in a hybrid move that enhances both carriers' networks.
The ties with Emirates, and flydubai's overall hybridity, will be enhanced now that the carrier will add to its previous all-economy configuration a business class – with warm meals and soon a lounge. No doubt there is demand for a premium product in thin but high value routes, as well as those fed from Emirates.
Sharjah based Air Arabia, the Middle East's most successful and until recently overtaken by flydubai, the region's largest LCC, reported a net profit of AED59 million (USD16 million) for the three months to the end of Mar-2013.
The result continues a remarkable run of profitable results for the carrier, stretching all the way back to its first year of operations, even through the Arab Spring period - resulting in a near-doubling of its share price over the past year.
Expansion plans continue, with a new order in the offing, to be selected from the A320neo, 737 MAX and the Bombardier CSeries, according to CEO, Adel Ali.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) continues its inexorable march to become the world’s largest airport by international passenger traffic. At the end of Mar-2013, the airport announced it had been confirmed as the world’s second busiest airport for international passenger traffic, moving ahead of Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport for the first time on a month to month basis.
Only London Heathrow Airport remains a bigger hub for international traffic. Given the pace of traffic growth in Dubai, the capacity constraints at London Heathrow and the dithering by UK authorities about runway capacity in southeast England, it is only a matter of time before Dubai becomes the world’s largest international passenger hub.
Dubai Airports believes DXB can take the top spot by the end of 2015.
flydubai has recorded its first annual profit and is preparing more rapid expansion for 2013 and beyond. flydubai, which has already surpassed Sharjah-based Air Arabia as the largest low-cost carrier in the Middle East based on seat capacity, is now looking at placing a new order for 50 narrowbody aircraft. It is already committed to growing its fleet from a current 28 737-800s to at least 50 aircraft by the end of 2015.
flydubai has grown rapidly since being launched in 2009 by the Dubai government, which also owns Emirates. Over the years it has adopted a hybrid model which allows it to fill, in some respects, a role as a regional carrier for its bigger full-service sister carrier. The hybrid approach has resulted in rapid and profitable expansion as flydubai has entered short and medium-haul markets that are too small for Emirates’ all-widebody fleet but in many cases have sufficient yields to support a full-service carrier. At the same time flydubai has been able to stimulate demand by offering low fares and is able to successfully operate alongside Emirates on some of the biggest routes within the Middle East.
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