Flydubai is recovering ‘strongly’ and expects better financial results than last year

The airline carried 4.3 million passengers in the first half of 2022, according to its chief executive

Flydubai posted a Dh841 million ($229m) profit in 2021 compared with a Dh712.6m loss in 2020, when the travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic.  Randi Sokoloff / The National
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Flydubai is recovering strongly from the coronavirus pandemic and expects 2022's financial results to be better than last year as it expands operations with more routes.

The low-cost airline recorded a Dh841 million ($229m) profit in 2021, compared with a Dh712.6m loss in 2020, when the travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Annual revenue rose 86 per cent to Dh5.3 billion last year, as passenger numbers rose 76 per cent to 5.6 million.

“We are recovering extremely very well,” Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive of flydubai, told The National on the sidelines of the Arab Air Carriers Organisation's annual general meeting in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“The main reason we have recovered so well is because of the successful implementation of [policies] by our government … opening up of our market … standards for health and safety that we have created. It attracted people to travel faster and sooner than any other part of the world.”

UAE, the Arab world’s second-largest economy, is recovering strongly from the pandemic on the back of government measures as well as higher oil prices and a rebound in the tourism sector.

The UAE expects to see a “strong tourism recovery” this winter, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said last month.

The total number of hotel guests in the UAE in the first half of the year increased by 42 per cent to reach 12 million. The tourism sector’s revenue exceeded Dh19bn during the first six months of 2022.

“We get a lot of passengers in the UAE,” as the country has dealt “strongly” with the pandemic, Mr Al Ghaith said.

“There are more people now who want to visit the UAE and want to set up a business and this is adding a lot of demand for our services.”

In the first half of the year, the airline carried 4.3 million passengers, up 105 per cent compared to the first six months of 2021, Mr Al Ghaith said.

The airline has “not yet seen any impact” on passenger demand given higher inflation globally, he added.

“Probably next year will be challenging considering the pressure that inflation will have on people’s ability to buy.”

However, the “UAE will see more growth because of the fact that there is more demand and the recovery started earlier and there is a genuine interest in the country from outside.”

The airline will also continue to expand its operations and this year it “opened and reopened new 27 destinations,” Mr Al Ghaith said.

Flydubai, this month, announced it has signed an agreement with the Czech Republic’s Smartwings to lease four next-generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft that will help it manage increased demand during the winter season.

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

Updated: October 25, 2022, 7:21 PM