Flydubai doubles losses in first half of 2018

The airline blamed tough market conditions and rising fuel prices



Low cost carrier Flydubai more than doubled its losses in the first half of the year citing higher fuel costs and tough economic conditions.

The airline reported a Dhs316.8m ($86.3m) net loss for the six months to the end of June compared to Dhs142.5m in the same period in 2017, an increase of 122.32 per cent.

Read: Flydubai widens H1 loss as fuel costs weigh on earnings

Total revenue increased 10.4 per cent to Dhs2.8bn ($761m) while passenger numbers remained steady at 5.4 million.

In its first half statement, the airline said a 35 per cent increase in average Brent crude oil prices in the first half had cost it Dhs175m ($47.6m).

Flydubai also said it had cancelled flights to some destinations and invested in others after conducting a route review and was facing tough economic and geopolitical conditions linked to rising interest rates and the stronger dollar.

“We have continued to see a tough trading environment and the Half-Year Results reflect these short-term challenges. We continue, however, to invest in our fleet, network and operations recognising opportunity as we look to the future,” said CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith.

“Although higher oil prices will continue to affect our operating costs and performance in the second half; pricing stability at the current level is also likely to stimulate demand for regional travel.”

The airline announced the appointment of Francois Oberholzer as its new chief financial officer and said it would take delivery of seven Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft in the second half.

Read: Flydubai orders 225 Boeing 737 Max aircraft

Al Ghaith said the airline had invested significant resources in its codeshare with sister airline Emirates, which should increase connectivity at Dubai International Airport.

Read: Flydubai to operate certain flights out of Terminal 3 as part of Emirates tie-up

It contributed 12.3 per cent of all traffic in Dubai in the first half.

The airline previously reported a 17.4 per cent increase in profit for 2017 as a whole to Dhs37.3m ($10.1m) compared to $8.6m in 2016.

Read: Flydubai records 17.4% increase in 2017 profit

“With oil reaching almost $80 a barrel, it comes as little surprise that the airline swung to a loss. However, flydubai’s traditional strong second half performance should see the airline recover this and get back into the black,” said StrategicAero Research chief analyst Saj Ahmad.

“Key to getting back into profit later in the year will be the continued push towards further integration and connectivity benefits with its partnership with Emirates.”