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Flydubai Targets European Traffic Flows

Flydubai Targets European Traffic Flows

The low-cost carrier is launching new routes to Zagreb, Sarajevo and Sofia.

New flydubai routes Zagreb, Sarajevo and Sofia will be promoted in their domestic markets this week.

These trio – which follow launch events in Prague and Bratislava last week – present the fast-growing carrier with more direct traffic opportunities to and from Dubai.

Speaking at a media roundtable in Prague last week, CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said more than 70 per cent of its passengers are origin and destination and less than 30 per cent are changing planes in Dubai.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t target transfer opportunities within Europe.

Indeed, flydubai is actively promoting its Bratislava route to Vienna travellers – and hopes to tempt them over the border.

Similarly Prague’s catchment area also extends to southern Poland and Germany while Sarajevo’s proximity to Serbia and Montenegro, Zagreb’s to Slovenia and Sofia’s to eastern Serbia and Macedonia, all offer through-traffic potential.

EU passport holders – who can already travel easily across borders – may now consider the routes as part of wider itineraries.

CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “People can use any of these combinations, because this part of the world is well structured from a transport point of view, and the geographical location, it will give us good coverage immediately and integration with other cities in Europe.”

The airline understandably has high hopes for Prague, Europe’s fifth most visited city – which starts as four services a week – and Bratislava too (twice weekly), envisaging both services will be expanded next year.

“We believe that we can easily support a daily flight to Prague as we see this as a gateway, experiencing the culture and going on to other places in Europe,” added Ghaith. Bratislava could rise to four-a-week by next summer.

For all its current European focus however, flydubai has no plans to be the next Ryanair or easyJet on the continent.

“Routes like Prague will be the furthest points we can go to – or we want to go to. For the type of aircraft we have, and our strategy – we know we have to focus on central Europe, which is not properly served.”

Last week the airline announced it will start flights to Chennai, Hargeisa and Nejran in the first quarter of 2015 and it expects to close out this year handling seven million passengers.

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