Flydubai signs agreement with Czech Republic’s Smartwings to lease four aircraft

New planes will help the low-cost airline manage increased passenger demand during the busy winter season

Dubai, February 20, 2012 - An Emirates Airlines plane takes off with a Fly Dubai 737 stationed on the tarmac at Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport in Dubai City, Dubai February 20, 2012. (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National) STOCK
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Flydubai has signed an agreement with the Czezh Republic’s Smartwings to lease four next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft that will help it manage increased demand during the winter season as travel and tourism picks up pace with the easing of pandemic-related movement restrictions.

The leased aircraft will support the Dubai low-cost carrier's fleet of 68 Boeing 737 aircraft and boost its passenger capacity between November 17 and January 16 next year, flydubai said in a statement on Friday. It did not provide financial details of the deal.

“Having previously worked with Smartwings, we are confident that the leasing of four additional aircraft will provide our passengers with more convenient and reliable options for travel during the winter season,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive at flydubai.

The all-economy-class aircraft will operate on select routes including Chattogram, Colombo, Dhaka, Karachi, Multan, Muscat and Sialkot, according to flydubai.

The deal comes as the travel and tourism industry recovers from the pandemic-driven slowdown. Most countries around the world have eased travel restrictions after a decline in the number of Covid-19 restrictions that has significantly boosted demand.

The international travel demand surged almost 116 per cent in August compared with the same month last year, with airlines in Asia delivering the strongest year-on-year growth rates as the travel sector recovers, the International Air Transport Association said in a recent report.

Passenger demand throughout the broader Middle East rose about 145 per cent annually in August. Regional airlines also increased capacity by 72.2 per cent in August, while load factor — a measure of how well an airline can fill available seats — climbed 23.7 percentage points to 79.8 per cent, according to Iata data.

Flydubai carried 2.35 million passengers in the first quarter of this year — up 114 per cent compared with the same period last year. It operated 19,000 flights in the three months to the end of March as governments eased movement restrictions, the airline said earlier this year.

A large number of people are also expected to travel to Dubai this winter as neighbouring Qatar hosts the Fifa World Cup, which is expected to benefit airlines as well as hotels in the region.

Updated: October 14, 2022, 1:28 PM