flydubai: high class low fare airline
27.04.2011 — Analysis
At the international airline market a player, whose activities will soon be studied in business schools, is gaining popularity. flydubai airlines can be compared with Dubai's Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world (828 meters) was built in six years, and it amazes even those, who have seen all Seven Wonders of the World. flydubai in seven years plans to build a fleet of fifty Boeing 737-800 Next Generation and affect the 2.5 billion passengers. In an interview to "RusBusinessNews" flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith told how low fare airline ensures high standards at a reasonable price.
- At the Farnborough aerospace show in 2008, the main event was the contract for delivery of 50 Boeing aircrafts worth U.S. $ 4 billion for your company. How is the implementation of this contract going?
- We received the first Boeing 737-800 NG in May 2009, and on June 1 it opened up the flydubai's history with the flight to Beirut. Today we have 16 of those aircrafts. The contract will be fully fulfilled by Boeing in 2016. All our work is focused on the cost of the flight, the comfort and convenience for the passengers. For example, winglets - special wingtips on the wings of airplanes help to reduce fuel consumption and, as a result, to lower cost. Comfort is guaranteed by specially designed seats, personal on-board entertainment system and new interior. We do not impose unwanted expenses to passengers: for example, they can decide whether they need a meal during the flight, and if necessary they can have inexpensive meal from the menu.
- If there is such a large number of ships in the fleet, will Dubai airport remain the only base for flydubai?
- Yes, we do not plan any other hub airports. Boeing 737-800 NG allows us to handle flights with flight duration of 4,5 hours. At maximum load (189 passengers) - it is five thousand kilometers. If you outline the circle with its center in Dubai, it will be 2.5 billion passengers in it. This is quite enough for us. Every month we expand flight network, which today reaches up to 36 routes.
- In October 2010, the network enclosed the first Russian cities - Yekaterinburg and Samara. Why you've chosen these cities and what are flydubai's future plans in Russia?
- We have studied the situation with the passenger traffic from Russia to Dubai and came to the conclusion that these two large cities are important to our presence. And it's not just about Russian tourists, but also about businessmen of the UAE who are interested in establishing business relations with Russia. Our choice proved to be very successful, and we will increase the number of flights on these routes. We will soon open two more routes to Russia, which is a significant market for us. Now we are deciding which cities to link with Dubai. Definitely, it will not Moscow or St. Petersburg.
- Will the arrival of new airplanes lead to expansion of your route network? Do you plan to expand into Europe?
- A good fleet of aircraft will allow us to add new routes and increase frequency of flights on existing ones. We are primarily focused on development of network in the Middle East, Africa, and the former Soviet Union. In Europe, we fly to Istanbul and, of course, to the Russian cities.
- Whom do you consider to be the main competitors?
- We do not focus on competition with other companies. We try to supplement them and provide the best service in the segment of low fare airlines.
- Now you are actively recruiting pilots across the globe. Does flydubai feel staff shortage?
- When we were preparing for flights, we've received 8,000 applications from the pilots. Today there are 220 pilots from 82 countries in flydubai. They all have great experience of flying on the Boeing 737. Safety is a strict requirement in the UAE. Therefore, we are investing in new aircraft and skilled staff. Obviously, the shortage of pilots will occur all over the world in the nearest future, many of pilots are reaching their age limits. Today we don't have a problem with pilot's selection because the work in flydubai is prestigious. But we consider this situation in our program of pilots' selection and training.
- Low fare companies often violate the schedule. How do you solve this problem?
- flydubai doesn't have delays caused by the airline. The only reason for delays is weather conditions. But this is a claim to the sky, where we strive to provide comfort and safety for passengers.
Interviewed by Vadim Dynin
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