United Arab Emirates
It’s been a non-stop year for Flydubai CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith. The latest entrant in the Middle East’s low cost carrier (LCC) market flies straight in at number four on our Power 50. Since the launch of FlyDubai, Al Ghaith has not looked back, launching a steady stream of new routes.
The carrier celebrated its first year of operation in June with an impressive one million passenger bookings. In the past few months alone, brand new routes have been launched to Istanbul, Lucknow, Colombo, Karachi, Yekaterinburg and Samara in Russia; and starting this month, flights will launch to Sulaimaniyah in Iraq and Yerevan in Armenia – taking its network to 26 destinations, in a bid to tap into unexplored markets.
FlyDubai’s first flight took off to Beirut on 1 June 2009 and just 12 months later; traffic on the route had increased 33%, which Al Ghaith said highlighted a growing demand for the airline’s “simple and uncomplicated” low fare structure.
While low cost air travel currently accounts for just 7% of the air travel market in the Middle East (compared to 35% in Europe) Al Ghaith has made it his mission to bring those figures more in line, highlighting the enormous potential of the Gulf’s low cost aviation sector. “There is no reason why we cannot reach those same figures. I believe the sky really is the limit for low cost air travel and low cost airlines in our region.” This bold ambition certainly makes him one to watch in the future.