Low-cost airline flydubai carried 2.35 million passengers in the first-quarter of this year, up 114 per cent compared to the same period last year, as the travel industry continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have continued our growth in 2022 capitalising on the tremendous results we reported for 2021,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive of flydubai, on Sunday.
“We have seen the number of passengers carried in the first quarter of this year more than double compared to the previous couple of years as we welcomed the world during Expo Dubai 2020, connected underserved markets to Dubai and added more frequencies around the network.”
Dubai, the tourism and commercial hub of the Middle East, successfully concluded Expo 2020 at the end of March with 24m visitors in six months, Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said last month. The emirate hosted 2.2m visitors in the first two months of 2022, he added.
Air passenger traffic showed a strong rebound in February 2022, as the Omicron-related impact receded outside Asia, said the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Passenger traffic in February grew nearly 116 per cent annually and was up almost 55 per cent compared with February 2019 levels, Iata said in its Air Passenger Market Analysis report last month. The conflict in Ukraine, which began on February 24, had only a limited effect on air travel demand during the month, it said. Passenger traffic also grew compared to the previous month.
Flydubai operated 19,000 flights in the three months to the end of March as governments eased movement restrictions and the travel industry rebounded. Demand for connecting traffic also jumped during the period, with 43 per cent of passengers connecting to the carrier’s network, compared with 28 per cent in the same period last year. Business-class travel also grew in the first quarter.
“Our strong business model, supported by our ongoing recruitment drive to grow our workforce in parallel with the scheduled aircraft deliveries this year, will see that we are well placed to accommodate the surge in demand as more people get ready to travel again over the summer”, Mr Al Ghaith said.
Flydubai has taken the delivery of four new aircraft this year, growing its fleet of Boeing 737s to 63 planes to expand its route network. The airline is expected to take delivery of 18 more aircraft over the next few months.
The sister airline of Emirates has grown its network to more than 100 destinations across Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South-East Europe, the GCC, Middle East and Indian Subcontinent. Fludubai has already exceeded the number of destinations it operated before the pandemic, as the travel industry recovers.
The Dubai-based airline relaunched flights to Yanbu in Saudi Arabia in February and added AlUla and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen to its network in March. It is also planning to start flights to several new destinations, including Pisa in Italy and Izmir in Turkey, starting this summer amid higher demand.
The airline posted a Dh841m ($229m) profit in 2021, compared with a Dh712.6m loss in 2020, when the travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Revenue grew 86 per cent to Dh5.3 billion last year as passenger numbers rose 76 per cent to 5.6m.