Flydubai will launch seven new flights before the end of the year, on top of their seven new routes already announced in 2013.
Speaking exclusively to Gulf Business at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Ghaith al Ghaith, chief executive officer of flydubai, also revealed the carrier will welcome five new aircraft before the year is out.
“We are pushing forward with our aggressive plan to continue to grow the airline and we are on track with that,” said al Ghaith.
“This year we are getting six new aircraft, we already have one and we are launching 14 new destinations, seven already and seven more to come.
“We are focusing primarily on new markets where there is not proper connection to Dubai or there are not enough flights [currently] as well as new markets that support tourism, trade and commerce both in Dubai and in the countries we fly to.”
Al Ghaith hinted the carrier may launch more than seven new routes before the end of the year, depending on flight approval. The new destinations include Osh, Mattala, Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Dushanbe, Volgograd and Salalah.
The chief executive said the low-cost carrier understands the value of being in Dubai as the city is a hub for aviation as well as home to one of the world’s largest airlines.
“We complement each other for sure,” said al Ghaith. “If you look at flydubai’s network of 57 destinations, 35 of those are not serviced by Emirates. This is for us very much part of our success and very much part of our forward goal.”
Al Ghaith spoke about the challenges of running a low-cost carrier in what is notoriously an expensive business, stressing the importance that streamlining should happen at the backend and not be transferred onto customers.
“Low-cost for us is more about the way we run our business. Everything has to be accounted for, we have to be very efficient,” he said.
“Business has developed in a way that if you’re not very efficient, you lose out. In the same way, with our services we have to make sure there is return.
“Fuel is always going to be a challenge. When we started, we selected the most [fuel] efficient aircraft and all our aircraft are new. We are not keeping any planes longer than a certain age because we do not want to incur deficiencies in performance, which would add more maintenance. So we keep our aircraft for eight years.
“A lot of the way we run the business is driven by being cost efficient and it’s an ongoing thing; you don’t stop. But we do not compromise safety or comfort or customer service. The devil is in the detail.”
Al Ghaith also spoke about the possibilities opened up by the new Al Maktoum International Airport, though it is unlikely flydubai will switch its operations to the new hub anytime soon.
“Al Maktoum airport is a huge opportunity for the growth of the aviation industry in Dubai. As far as flydubai is concerned, we are now focusing on our new Terminal 2 [at Dubai International airport] that we have expanded.
“But in the future it is obvious for growth to be had we need more airport capacity than what we have now. So the more you look in the future there will be something for us at Al Maktoum International, and that’s where the future is. How, when and what is not something we know right now.
“I think aviation has become more important and is a bigger part of our life than it was 10 years ago. The more the world pushes for globalisation and connectivity, the requirement for travel becomes more essential. Especially for us in this part of the world.”