The Dubai-based low-cost airline, flydubai has been making some big announcements at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg this week. As the airline prepares for the first of its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to be delivered later this year, flydubai has teamed up with seat manufacturer Recaro and JPA Design to create a new look cabin.
The government backed airline was only formed in 2009 and has already created a route network of over 90 destinations in 44 countries. Like many low-cost airlines, flydubai uses the world’s most popular single-aisle airliner – the Boeing 737. Widely acknowledged for its efficiency and low operating costs.
flydubai currently operate 58 Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft which feature the new Boeing Sky interior. The airline has placed an order for up to 100 aircraft of the latest variant – the 737-800 MAX and plans to start taking delivery in the second half of 2017 through 2023.
But while flydubai may be using the workhorse aircraft of LCC’s around the world, it just wouldn’t be the Middle East if it wasn’t a little more luxe. Dubai’s only low-cost carrier is one of only a very few LCC’s to offer a Business Class cabin and in-flight entertainment available at all seats.
Although a low-cost airline in principle, flydubai has a less strict interpretation of the business model than some of the most famous LCCs like Ryanair or Spirit. To compare the product and onboard service with a Western LCC, think Jet Blue.
Now, flydubai wants to “completely reimagine” the look of its passenger cabin and has brought in transport design specialist JPA Design for the job. The design team will lead an overhaul of the entire environment from cabin materials to lighting, lavatory design and soft furnishings. JPA Design has also been selected to design the in-flight entertainment interface.
The scope of the work includes a redesigned Business Class seat. flydubai intends to introduce a bespoke product that “promises to be unique to flydubai.”
John Tighe, JPA’s Design Director has spoken of where his firm will be taking inspiration for the project: “To seek inspiration that will help inform the final cabin design, JPA has already spent a good deal of time immersing into the culture, colour and sights of Dubai.”
Tighe went on to describe flydubai as a “warm, friendly, smart and ambitious airline, (they) have a clear vision of where they wish to go and value their customers highly.”
For Economy passengers, the airline has revealed that it is going to be working with industry heavyweights Recaro Aircraft Seating. The German-based seat manufacturer has been chosen to provide its lightweight but fully featured CL3710 seat for flydubai.
“We are excited to continue our collaboration with Recaro Aircraft Seating on the CL3710 seats for our new aircraft. They will enhance the overall experience on board with added comfort, functionality and aesthetics, that complement our newly redesigned cabin interior,” commented flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith.
Recaro has been given an initial order to supply flydubai with 800 seats.
The CL3710 weighs less than 12 kilogrammes – making it one the lightest aircraft seats in its class. But it comes packed with features including a six-way adjustable, ergonomic headrest. The seats can be highly customised and are full featured with the ability to include inbuilt in-flight entertainment systems and passenger power outlets.
As yet flydubai has not yet announced how many new aircraft it intends to take delivery of this year. The airline has recently released financial results that showed it made profits of just AED 31.6 million (USD $8.6 million) in 2016.
Last year, the airline carried over 10 million passengers but expects the need to adjust to falling demand in 2017. flydubai CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith said at the time: “we will remain prudent throughout 2017 as we will continue to operate in a challenging socio-economic environment. Yields will remain under pressure and we expect to report flat growth in the year ahead.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.