KHALEEJ TIMES, Tuesday, Mar 08, 2022 | Sha'ban
Flydubai back in the black on solid business fundamentals and increased
Emirates: Flydubai on Monday announced that it is back in the
black, posting $229 million in profits in 2021, after heavy losses suffered by
the world’s Covid-hit airline industry.
The Dubai-based airline swung to a profit of Dh841 million ($229 million) last
year surpassing pre-pandemic figures as demand increased after travel curbs
eased globally, it said on Monday.
The profit compared with a loss of Dh712.6 million in 2020 when the airline,
which lacks a domestic market, was hit by international closures imposed because
of the Covid-19 crisis.
Revenue jumped 86 per cent to Dh5.3 billion. The profit figures even topped the
Dh198.2 million reported in 2019.
Flydubai, which is owned by Dubai government , carried 5.6 million passengers
last year, a 76-per cent leap from 2020 when it lost $186 million at the height
of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, said the tremendous
results flydubai is reporting for 2021 come after a very challenging two years
as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the decisions taken by the UAE’s leadership, which saw the
implementation of the precautionary safety measures throughout the customer
journey, gave visitors the confidence to travel to Dubai; resulting in a 76 per
cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers.
"We remain well placed to continue to welcome passengers across our network to
Dubai and beyond. Flydubai is intrinsic to Dubai’s travel and tourism industry,”
Dubai, a tourism and trading hub, has since October been hosting the delayed
Expo 2020 world fair, which ends on March 31.
In July 2020 Dubai became one of the world’s first locations to reopen to
Dubai airport last year remained the world’s busiest in terms of international
passengers, numbering about 29.1 million in 2021.
Strong business model
Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer at flydubai, said flydubai’s business
model remains strong and has served us well through the pandemic.
"As demand returned these strong fundamentals have translated into a significant
improvement in our financial performance. This achievement has been made
possible by the commitment of our hardworking employees combined with our
business agility,” he said.
While commenting on the travel restrictions that were in place across its
network, Al Ghaith said a challenge that remained throughout 2021 was the
constant changes to the travel restrictions. This meant that passengers did not
have the confidence to book travel early, however they continued to travel with
a shorter booking window ahead of their date of travel.
"During the second half of the year, travel restrictions began to ease which led
to an increase in demand for travel across our network. We launched flights to
seasonal summer destinations to offer more options for passengers and the
increase in our flight schedule in the second half of the year supported the
demand for inbound travel to Dubai,” he said.
Key highlights for the year 2021
> 22 new routes were launched in 2021, 13 of which were unserved
destinations from Dubai
> The top 10 busiest routes for scheduled flights across the flydubai
network were Alexandria (HBE), Bahrain (BAH), Bucharest (OTP), Doha (DOH),
Karachi (KHI), Kathmandu (KTM), Male’ (MLE), Tbilisi (TBS), Tel Aviv (TLV) and
> To meet the demand for travel over the summer, the airline launched
flights to five destinations for the summer season: Batumi (BUS), Bodrum (BJV),
Mykonos (JMK), Santorini (JTR) and Trabzon (TZX).
> With the easing of the travel restrictions around the network,
flydubai has seen an increase in the demand for travel. In January 2020,
flydubai operated 5,701 flights. The number of flights surpassed pre-pandemic
levels in December 2021 when the airline operated 6,430 flights
> Flydubai has seen an increase in demand for connecting traffic with
34% of passengers connecting on to the flydubai network or through its codeshare
> Demand for Business Class increased in the following regions on the
. The GCC saw an increase of 42% in 2021 up from 35% in 2019
. Europe saw an increase of 51% in 2021 up from 41% in 2019
. Africa saw an increase of 42% in 2021 up from 35% in 2019
> The fleet expanded to 59 aircraft including 34 Next-Generation Boeing
737-800, 22 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 3 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft
> The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft rejoined the airline’s fleet from April
which were maintained in active storage to facilitate a seamless return to
> Flydubai will continue to operate a mixed fleet of Next-Generation
Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
> In July, flydubai reached an agreement with Boeing and the airline
has adjusted its aircraft orders which had been placed in 2013 and 2017.
Flydubai revised down the total number of aircraft it will receive by 65
aircraft. As at December 31, 25 aircraft had been received from its orders with
161 aircraft due for delivery
> Flydubai completed the financing requirements for 13 Boeing 737 MAX
aircraft and two LEAP-1B engines by sale and leaseback to support aircraft
deliveries during 2021
> Flydubai moved into its new Campus in April bringing its team
together and creating a greener and sustainable working environment with a LEED
certification. The Campus includes a Training Centre for its crew
> Since the airline’s extended codeshare partnership with Emirates was
launched in 2017, more than 8.3 million passengers have enjoyed seamless
connectivity across the joint network
Outlook statement for 2022
The airline’s strategy for the year ahead is to contribute to the rebuilding of
the travel sector following the Covid-19 pandemic. From March 2022, flydubai
will take delivery of 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which will see further
deployment of its onboard product and support the airline’s future growth. These
aircraft will be deployed across the network to provide customers with the
opportunity to travel to more places, more often.
“With the lifting of restrictions across our network and increasing demand for
travel, we are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead notwithstanding the
geopolitical situation and its potential effect on the pricing of commodities,”
Al Ghaith said.
“During 2022, we will see the largest number of aircraft delivered in any year
since the launch of the airline. As the momentum for travel continues to build,
we will increase frequencies and introduce new destinations on our network
during 2022. To support this growth trajectory, we will need to recruit the best
people in the industry willing to contribute to flydubai’s continued success
story,” he added.