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Wed 7 Jan 2009 12:20 PM

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FlyDubai launch date 'not affected' by delivery delays

Low-cost carrier says it is on track for planned launch in mid-2009, despite Boeing strike.

Budget airline FlyDubai has reiterated its planned mid-2009 launch will not be pushed back due to aircraft delivery delays.

A spokesperson for the low-cost carrier told Arabian Business on Wednesday that operations will go ahead this summer, despite Boeing’s aircraft production delay announcement late last year.

In November, a 58-day machinist strike at the US aircraft manufacturer’s Seattle plant halted aircraft production, and subsequent deliveries. Several airlines including FlyDubai are thought to have been affected by the setback.

At the time, FlyDubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said he was confident the airline would launch in mid-2009 following talks with Boeing about aircraft deliveries.

An airline spokesperson said nothing has changed since al-Ghaith talked to the press last year. “We don’t think it [Boeing production delays] is going to delay our plans,” the spokesperson said. “A press release that we issued when we bought the aircraft in July said we planned to launch in mid-2009 and we are still on track for that.”

The spokesperson also dismissed rumours that FlyDubai had frozen recruitment for senior positions following Boeing’s production delays.

“I don’t think that’s accurate and I don’t think we have had any delays in appointing people,” the spokesperson said. “We haven’t announced appointments and we haven’t been engaging with the media because we’re busy getting organised – but we have made senior appointments and we will be announcing them soon.”

During the Farnborough Airshow last July, FlyDubai ordered 54 next generation 737-800s worth $4 billion. Deliveries were scheduled to start this year in preparation for FlyDubai’s summer launch.

The Dubai-based carrier will fly to destinations in the Middle East, North and East Africa, Southeast Europe and Indian subcontinent.

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