flydubai reaches 50 aircraft; has operated to over 110 destinations from Dubai; overlaps with Emirates on 34 routes
It has taken flydubai just under 76 months since operating its first commercial flight on 1 June 2009 (to Beirut) to grow its fleet to 50 aircraft, all of them 737-800s. Since then it has started over 110 routes from Dubai’s main airport and last year the carrier transported over 7.2 million passengers. Growth was relatively modest in 2014 primarily as a result of the runway maintenance works at Dubai Airport which significantly reduced operations for several months. Growth has been rapid (with the exception of 2014) and the airline now operates well over 100 daily departures from Dubai Airport.
Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran generate most routes
The airline’s extensive network covers over 90 destinations in over 40 countries. Based on weekly departures the leading country market by some distance is Saudi Arabia, with 137 weekly departures in the first week of October, representing almost 17% of the airline’s entire weekly movements. These are spread across 13 destinations in Saudi Arabia, with nine of them served at least daily. Some way behind in terms of weekly departures is Kuwait. All 80 weekly services to the country are to the capital, Kuwait City, making it the airline’s single busiest route.
While Russia ranks only tenth in terms of total weekly departures, these are spread across 10 different airports. Similarly, Iran ranks as only the seventh biggest country market but flydubai operates to nine different airports in the country.
Given the political situation in some of the countries within the range of flydubai’s 737-800s it is no surprise that some destinations have been suspended in recent years. These include airports in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. Between now and the end of the year flydubai will be adding several more destinations to its network; Novosibirsk (starting 4 October) and Nizhniy Novgorod in Russia (7 October), Asmara in Eritrea (25 October) and Astana in Kazakhstan (26 October).
From 25 October the airline will start to split its operations by launching flights from Dubai Al Maktoum, Dubai’s second airport. Daily (or double-daily) flights will be introduced to Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Doha, Kathmandu, Kuwait and Muscat. All of these destinations are already served from the airline’s main hub and will continue to be served after these new routes begin.
Overlaps with Emirates on 34 routes; Prague is longest sector
Maybe surprisingly, flydubai operates to 34 destinations that are also served by Emirates from Dubai. With Emirates operating a high-quality service on an all wide-body fleet of aircraft, flydubai targets a different passenger segment, one for whom price is more important than comfort. Segmented by geography the 34 destinations served by both airlines are summarised in the following table.
|Region||Airport (code, Emirates weekly frequencies:flydubai weekly frequencies)|
|Africa (4)||Addis Ababa (ADD, 7:3), Dar Es Salaam (DAR, 14:2), Entebbe (EBB, 7:5), Khartoum (KRT, 4:13)|
|Asia (13)||Ahmedabad (AMD, 11:2), Colombo (CMB, 20:15), Chennai (MAA, 21:3), Delhi (DEL, 28:5), Dhaka (DAC, 21:14), Hyderabad (HYD, 21:4), Karachi (KHI, 49:28), Kochi (COK, 21:4), Malé (MLE, 21:6), Multan (MUX, 4:9), Mumbai (BOM, 35:5), Sialkot (SKT, 7:8), Thiruvananthapuram (TRV, 14:3)|
|Europe (1)||Prague (PRG, 7:4)|
|Middle East (16)||Amman (AMM, 21:7), Bahrain (BAH, 28:28), Baghdad (BGW, 4:14), Basra (BSR, 10:7), Beirut (BEY, 21:14), Dammam (DMM, 21:21), Doha (DOH, 49:63), Erbil (EBL, 4:7), Jeddah (JED, 17:21), Kabul (KBL, 7:21), Kuwait City (KWI, 49:70), Madinah (MED, 7:7), Mashhad (MHD, 5:7), Muscat (MCT, 21:42), Riyadh (RUH, 14:7), Tehran (IKA, 28:3)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 5 October 2015.|
The airline’s longest sector is to Prague in the Czech Republic, at 4,461 kilometres. The route was started last December as was the airline’s second longest sector to Bratislava in Slovakia. The airline’s shortest sector is to Bandar Abbas in Iran at just 240 kilometres.
Future growth will come from the airline’s next batch of aircraft orders. flydubai will receive 11 737-800NGs between 2016 and 2017, followed by 100 737 MAX between 2017 and 2023. This could give it a fleet of over 150 aircraft by 2023 if not many of the airline’s earlier 737-800s are passed on to other carriers to maintain the fleet’s low average age.
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