flydubai announced plan to recruit 600 pilots by 2016 to keep pace with its growing fleet and route network (Arabian Business, 18-May-2011). The airline placed an order for 50 Boeing 737-800s in 2008 with a total value of USD4 billion, with the last B737 expected by 2016. CEO Ghaith al Ghaith said the LCC was “possibly the world’s fastest growing start-up airline ever”. flydubai in Apr-2011 secured financing worth USD80 million at list prices with lessor MC Aviation Partners to cover the costs for equipment due in 2011. The LCC serves 37 destinations from its Dubai International Airport base.
flydubai to hire 600 pilots
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Qatar Airways grows in Saudi Arabia as it catches up to flydubai and appears to end Al Maha ambition
Often overlooked in the story of Gulf aviation superconnectors is Saudi Arabia. A large and underserved domestic and international market in its own right, Saudi also possesses hub capability to challenge its better known rivals. 13 Saudi cities have international service but the flag carrier Saudia only serves five. Foreign airlines have moved in, taking advantage of Saudia's absence and the often favourable geography.
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In 2016 Qatar Airways overtook flydubai and Emirates in capacity size, making it the largest foreign airline in Saudi. Qatar's organic growth comes as it is increasingly likely that its proposed Saudi start-up, Al Maha Airways, will not launch. Saudia accounts for only 31% of Saudi's international market. This is likely to grow as Saudia continues its quiet revitalisation, aided by improved hubs at Jeddah and Riyadh. There is also a dual brand strategy with the LCC start-up flyadeal.
flydubai outlook improves, with reduced losses and faster rebound despite global uncertainty
As airlines worry about having passed their peaks and entering a downturn, flydubai, the LCC owned by the Dubai government, is on an upwards trajectory. This is very welcome after flydubai's sudden and sharp 1H2015 loss occurred as most other airlines were in party mode, buoyed by low fuel prices. flydubai significantly narrowed its 1H2016 loss despite double-digit growth. With the industry worrying about its health, flydubai appears to have caught the cold early and rebounded from it. An improvement in load factor, uplift in business traffic (19%) and reduction in expenses may show greater efficiency that can be maintained – the silver lining to the financial upset.
flydubai's 1H2016 loss narrowed to USD24.5 million from 1H2015's USD40 million, despite a 14.9% increase in flights. Losses per passenger decreased about nine percentage points faster. Unlike its bigger sister Emirates, also owned by the Dubai government but run separately, flydubai is primarily a point-to-point operator - so it depends on the health of Dubai.