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Monday, August 8, 2011

Flydubai launches flights to Ahmedabad

Taking off from August 27, weekly flight will be Dubai-based carrier’s 3rd Indian destination

Dubai-based budget carrier Flydubai has announced plans to launch flights to the Indian city of Ahmedabad, with CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith confirming the same in an exclusive interview with Emirates 24|7.

The once weekly flight will launch from August 27, marking Flydubai’s third Indian destination, after Lucknow and Hyderabad. The flight is expected to depart every Saturday from Dubai at 10:10pm and reach Ahmedabad on Sunday morning at 2:50 am.

The same aircraft will depart for Dubai on Sunday at 3:35am and will reach Dubai at 5:05am.

Said Ghaith: “We will be operating the Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the route, which has a seat capacity of 189 passengers. With a one flight per week initially we are expecting a healthy passenger load factor of 70 to 80 per cent at least.”

Earlier news reports in the Indian media had reported the low cost carrier’s plans to enter Ahmedabad, with a July 11 start date having been announced by sources at the airport; however, Ghaith said all those were cases of jumping the gun.

“An airline has to prepare for the flight and route launch externally and these things take time; you can’t just wake up one day and announce a new city,” said Ghaith. “There are bilateral agreements that are signed between the UAE and India and we have to follow procedures before making any statements.”

Talking about choosing the thriving commercial city in the Indian state of Gujarat, Ghaith said: “India remains an important market for us and there is strong multi-faceted relationship with the UAE that stretches beyond commercial gain and also encompasses families and workers here. These strong links will direct us towards markets that we see have potential for the airline.”

When quizzed if any for Indian cities are on the flightplan for 2011, Ghaith said that Flydubai had no plans to announce any more routes to the country this year, but there will be other countries that will make the cut before year end.

He added: “There are still five months to the year-end; I’m sure we can make a few more announcements for new routes.”

Flydubai’s entry into its third Indian city comes nearly a week earlier to the September 1 launch date of IndiGo, the Indian budget carrier, which connect Dubai-Delhi with daily flights; IndiGo will also launch the Dubai-Mumbai sector from October 2.

However, Ghaith seemed unfazed with this new competition entering the market, saying: “More airlines flying to Dubai makes things better off for us. Competition is always healthy and with more demand, any route can always have room for further enhancement.”

The CEO also confirmed that the airline had no plans to order more aircraft, with deliveries of its 18th aircraft taken last week; this was the latest in an investment of $80 million of the order of 50 placed by Flydubai at the 2008 Farnborough Airshow.


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Good News

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