FlyDubai plans to have a total fleet of 54 aircraft by 2015, which exceeds its rival the well established Air Arabia, which in 2003 became the region’s first low-cost carrier and now operates 14 A320s. Sharjah based Air Arabia, resides in the emirate next to Dubai which has positioned its airport – Sharjah International Airport, as a low-cost hub. Additionally, FlyDubai will compete against Jazeera Airways, which is based in Kuwait but also has a mini-hub in Dubai. Jazeera Airways currently operates 6 A320s but has purchased a further 34. Two other low cost carriers have entered the competition markets but spectators say FlyDubai is the most determined and could attract Abu Dhabi to launch a low cost carrier equivalent too.
FlyDubai plans to serve those who require more destination choice and of course a competitively priced ticket. Many expats based in Dubai and surrounding emirates find the major airlines too pricey with popular destinations difficult to purchase during peak times. With this in mind, FlyDubai will initially serve about 12 destinations within a 5 hour range of Dubai providing access to 2 billion people.
Initially, FlyDubai will have the assistance of Emirates Airlines, who by the way do not own the budget airline, during launch phase but by the beginning of 2010 they aim to be completely independent.
As with most low cost carriers, FlyDubai will follow same method for charging of food and checked bags. It will be based at the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali which when built completely, will be the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub capable of handing 120 million passengers, double that of London Heathrow and 10 times larger than Dubai’s existing airport.
It is planned that the first of six runways will be ready in time for FlyDubai’s launch mid 2009 with the airport in basic operation and minimal facilities available. The airport and surrounding area plans to be fully operational by 2017.
Al Maktoum International Airport or JXB will be managed by the newly established Dubai Airports company, and its cost is estimated at USD8.1 billion. As with most of the UAE’s new developments, a fully operational city will be built around the airport initially named as Dubai World Central aviation complex.
JXB will have six parallel runways, numerous concourses and be fully capable of handling all sizes of aircrafts i.e the mega A380. Of course it will have stunning hotels and malls.
The two bosses behind this huge project are not short of aviation experience. Gaith Al Gaith, FlyDubai’s CEO worked for Emirates Airlines for 21 years as Vice President for Commercial Operations. Kenneth Gile is the COO and has been in the aviation industry his entire career starting with Saudi Arabian Airlines, Southwest and recently Skybus.
FlyDubai Official Website