By Beatrice Thomas
CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith predicts the low-cost carrier will have 100 routes and 100 aircraft by 2020
Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith has flagged adding another five destinations to the carrier’s network by the end of the year as it heads towards 100 destinations and 100 aircraft by 2020.
Building on the 17 new destinations added last year, the Dubai-based airline this week announced another five routes - doubling its network in India with the launch of flights to Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram and adding Almaty and Shymkent in Kazakhstan.
It takes to nine the number of destinations launched this year.
However, Al Ghaith told Arabian Business it expected to add more destinations in 2014, but he did not name the specific locations.
“We’ve launched nine, I think there are a few to come, but this all depends on certain things,” he said. “For us, the end of this year, beginning of next year, it’s very tight.”
When pressed on how many extra routes it could add he said: “I think five is a good guess.”
Al Ghaith said on Monday that flydubai would aim for 100 routes and 100 aircraft by 2020 – the same year Dubai will host the World Expo.
Including this week’s announcement, the carrier has a network of 74 destinations in 35 countries and 36 Boeing aircraft, with another 86 Boeing 737s on order and purchase rights for a further 25.
Eight of those aircraft are due to be delivered in 2014.
“Asked about a target for 2020, I said (at Arabian Travel Market) off the top of my head 100 routes, 100 aircraft,” Al Ghaith said. “But, I know, and anybody who knows our business (knows), there is no such thing as a fixed number... and there is no fixed answer.
“As far as we are concerned, we look at the geographical location we are in, the mass around us and there are so many opportunities. The question is what and how much of the routes that you have you will add capacity to – those combinations will determine how many routes you will have, but I think 100 is definitely obtainable.”
In March flydubai said profits had surged by 47 percent to AED228.8m ($60.7m) for full-year 2013 on the back of soaring passenger numbers to European destinations.
It said revenue hit AED3.7bn, while passenger numbers rose 38 percent to 6.82m, including a 55 percent increase in passenger traffic to European airports.