Dubai-based airline rebounds above pre-pandemic levels as travel restrictions ease
The Dubai-based airline made a profit of 841 million dirhams ($229 million) last year, topping pre-pandemic figures as demand surged after travel restrictions eased in global scale. — Photo provided
Flydubai announced on Monday that it was back in the black, posting $229 million in profits in 2021, after heavy losses suffered by the global airline industry hit by Covid.
The Dubai-based airline made a profit of 841 million dirhams ($229 million) last year, topping pre-pandemic figures as demand surged after travel restrictions eased in global scale, he said on Monday.
The profit compared to a loss of Dh712.6 million in 2020 when the airline, which has no domestic market, was hit by international shutdowns imposed due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Revenue jumped 86% to 5.3 billion dirhams. The profit figures even exceeded the 198.2 million Dh reported in 2019.
Flydubai, which is owned by the government of Dubai, carried 5.6 million passengers last year, a 76% jump 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 extraordinary results flydubai is reporting for 2021 comes after two very difficult years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said that the decisions taken by the leaders of the United Arab Emirates, which saw the implementation of preventive security measures throughout the customer journey, gave visitors the confidence to travel to Dubai; resulting in a 76% increase in passenger numbers year over year.
“We remain well positioned to continue welcoming passengers to our network in Dubai and beyond. Flydubai is an integral part of the travel and tourism industry in Dubai,” he said.
Dubai, a tourism and trade hub, has been hosting the delayed Expo 2020 world exhibition since October, which ends on March 31.
In July 2020, Dubai became one of the first places in the world to reopen to outbound travel.
Last year, Dubai Airport remained the world’s busiest in terms of international passengers, with around 29.1 million in 2021.
A solid business model
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Managing Director of flydubai, said flydubai’s business model remains strong and has served us well during the pandemic.
“As demand returns, these strong fundamentals translated into a significant improvement in our financial performance. This achievement was made possible through the commitment of our dedicated employees combined with our business agility,” he said. declared.
While commenting on the travel restrictions that were in place on his network, Al Ghaith said one challenge that remained throughout 2021 was the constant changes in travel restrictions. This meant that passengers lacked the confidence to book their travel early, but continued to travel with a shorter booking window before their travel date.
“During the second half of the year, travel restrictions began to ease, leading to increased demand for travel across our network. We launched flights to seasonal summer destinations to provide more options for passengers and the increase in our flight schedule in the second half of the year has supported inbound travel demand to Dubai,” he said.
Highlights of 2021
> 22 new courses were launched in 2021, including 13 unserved destinations from Dubai
> The top 10 busiest routes for scheduled flights on the flydubai network were Alexandria (HBE), Bahrain (BAH), Bucharest (OTP), Doha (DOH), Karachi (KHI), Kathmandu (KTM), Male (MLE), Tbilisi (TBS), Tel . Aviv (TLV) and Zanzibar (ZNZ).
> To meet travel demand During 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 travel restrictions around the network, flydubai has seen an increase in travel demand. 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 connecting passengers on the flydubai network or via its codeshare with Emirates
> Business Class Request increased in the following regions on the flydubai network:
. GCC saw a 42% increase in 2021, up from 35% in 2019
. Europe saw a 51% increase in 2021, compared to 41% in 2019
. Africa saw a 42% increase in 2021, up from 35% in 2019
> The fleet expanded to 59 aircraft including 34 Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation, 22 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 3 Boeing 737 MAX 9
> The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft joined the airline’s fleet from April which has been kept in active storage to facilitate a smooth return to service
> Flydubai will continue to operate a mixed fleet of next-generation Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
> In July, flydubai reached a agreement with Boeing and the airline has adjusted its aircraft orders that were placed in 2013 and 2017. Flydubai has revised down the total number of planes it will receive from 65 planes. As of December 31, 25 aircraft had been received from its orders and 161 aircraft were due for delivery
> Flydubai has finalized the financing requirements for 13 Boeing 737 MAX and two LEAP-1B engines through sale-leaseback to support aircraft deliveries in 2021
> Flydubai has moved into its new Campus in April bringing its team together and creating a greener and more sustainable work environment with LEED certification. The Campus includes a Training Center for its crew
> From extended airline codeshare partnership with Emirates was launched in 2017, more than 8.3 million passengers enjoyed seamless connectivity on the common network
Statement of outlook for 2022
The airline’s strategy for the coming year is to help rebuild the travel industry following the Covid-19 pandemic. From March 2022, flydubai will take delivery of 20 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, which will see the continued rollout of its in-vehicle product and support the airline’s future growth. These aircraft will be deployed across the network to provide customers with the ability to travel to more places, more often.
“With the lifting of restrictions on our network and increasing travel demand, we are cautiously optimistic for the year ahead, despite the geopolitical situation and its potential effect on commodity prices,” Al Ghaith said. .
“In 2022, we will see the highest number of aircraft delivered each year since the airline’s launch. As the momentum for travel continues to build, we will increase frequencies and introduce new destinations to our network in 2022. To sustain this growth trajectory, we will need to recruit the best people in the industry willing to contribute to the continued success of flydubai,” he added.