flydubai, the low-cost Dubai-based airline has said it is “cautiously optimistic about 2018” but admits the operational climate last year “remained challenging” as it publishes its latest financial results for 2017.
The airline announced revenues of $1.5 billion USD with profits coming in at $10.1 million USD. That’s a welcome improvement on the previous year’s results with revenue growing 9.2% and profits hiking up around 16% from $8.6 million in 2016.
The results might seem modest but flydubai only started flying in 2009 and has been investing heavily in expanding both its aircraft fleet and route network. Those efforts have seen the airline carry 10.9 million passengers last year with a fleet of 61 aircraft across more than 100 destinations.
“The Results announced today demonstrate the key role that flydubai continues to play in the development of trade and tourism in the UAE,” explained HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Chairman of flydubai.
The flydubai / Emirates partnership
Last year, flydubai and Emirates – both of which are owned by the government of Dubai – announced a significant partnership which at the time was said to go way beyond simply codesharing.
Commenting on how that relationship was working out, Al Maktoum said there had been a “significant response from passengers who recognise the benefits of travelling around the world on a single ticket.”
“As the opportunities presented by the codeshare progress, it will create new passenger flows going forward.”
flydubai to continue expansion at both DXB and DWC
There had been plans to move flydubai’s operations out of Dubai International Airport to the new Al Maktoum International airport (DWC) located to the south of the city. But with the new partnership, flydubai has been forced to put those plans on ice – instead, opting to operate out of both airports to maintain a decent connections service.
Despite the challenges of operating out of one of the busiest airports in the world, flydubai still managed to operate around 86% of departures within 30 minutes of the scheduled time.
Talking about a “changing socio-economic environment” flydubai said it would closely monitor the performance of its route network going forward. Nonetheless, the airline is set for a massive expansion in the next few years.
Aircraft order backlog reaches 295
In 2017, the airline took delivery of eight new aircraft – two Boeing 737-800’s and six 737MAX 8 jets. It hopes, the next generation MAX aircraft will open up new destinations with an increased range and more efficient fuel burn.
At the Dubai Air Show last year, flydubai announced a plan to order 175 of the aircraft in a deal worth $27 billion at list prices. With a current order backlog of 295 aircraft, flydubai says it “represents the scale of the ambition planned for the airline”.
“We know how important aviation is to the business landscape,” explained flydubai’s chief executive, Ghaith Al Ghaith.
“We remain confident about the road ahead.”