Flydubai expects its first profit this year as the airline's route map expands. Jeff Topping / The National
Flydubai expects its first profit this year as the airline's route map expands. Jeff Topping / The National

Flydubai looks to soar into black



Flydubai is on course to make its first profit this year as the low-cost carrier aims to dramatically expand its fleet to 50 planes in four years.

The airline, which was founded in March 2008 by the Government of Dubai and began flying in June 2009, was likely to leave the red for the first time, said its chief executive, Ghaith Al Ghaith.

"We have said that we would make profit by the end of this year," he said. "We are still a few months to go but I hope we can keep that promise. For us, making money is second nature, you cannot operate if you are not successful."

Flydubai currently flies to 51 destinations and has earmarked 20 more possible routes for the next few years.

This year, it has launched seven new routes - to Bucharest, Sana'a, Basra, Najaf, Bishkek, Taif and Skopje - and will add Tabuk in Saudi Arabia this month.

Mr Al Ghaith said government subsidies for airlines, a hot topic in the world of aviation, were detrimental to competition and negative for consumers.

"[Airline subsidies are] not sustainable because the airline can make lots of money but it can also lose lots of money. So if you hide the cost or try to protect it, suddenly you are faced with costs you cannot control," said Mr Al Ghaith. "It's better for sustainability if you can make money."

Flydubai signed an order worth US$3.78 billion (Dh13.88bn) with Boeing for 50 planes at the Farnborough Air Show in 2008.

Last month the airline took delivery of the first of three Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, financed through a $117.5 million loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).

The next two aircraft will arrive this month and in December, taking the total fleet to 28 aircraft. It will add six more aircraft next year.

Mr Al Ghaith said the airline was talking to local banks about financing options for the further 22 aircraft it was set to fly by 2016.

"We will have to finance the fleet. We are always in the market to do more," he said.

"We will continue to look at sale and leaseback opportunities. We will continue to look at Ex-Im Bank and will also look at conventional banking loans to fund our future aircraft."

Mr Al Ghaith added that the financing market in the UAE had improved since the airline's inception, giving it another option, having used only sale and leaseback agreements before securing the funding from Ex-Im Bank.

"Financing is very much available from consortiums," he said. "The liquidity is at a much better situation than before. There are a lot of people coming forward so we believe we will tap into that in the future also."

In addition to the new routes, flydubai has increased the number of flights across its network by 41 per cent between August last year and the same month this year.

Mr Al Ghaith said that Iran, India and Pakistan offered a huge opportunity for expansion.

"These three are main areas, but our capacity in those areas does not even represent 3 per cent of our current capacity," he said.

The airline does not fly to Iran and operates to one destination in Pakistan and three in India.

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Temperature: -40°C

Weight of equipment: 45kg

Altitude (metres above sea level): 0

Terrain: Ice rock

South Pole stats

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Temperature: -50°C

Weight of equipment: 50kg

Altitude (metres above sea level): 3,300

Terrain: Flat ice
 

Company Profile

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Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
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Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

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Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

The biog

Age: 32

Qualifications: Diploma in engineering from TSI Technical Institute, bachelor’s degree in accounting from Dubai’s Al Ghurair University, master’s degree in human resources from Abu Dhabi University, currently third years PHD in strategy of human resources.

Favourite mountain range: The Himalayas

Favourite experience: Two months trekking in Alaska

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