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Wed 8 May 2013 01:01 PM

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Flydubai says open to partnership with easyjet

Carrier's CEO says it is looking to expand into untapped markets; open-minded on alliances

Flydubai says open to partnership with easyjet
Flydubai chief executive officer Ghaith al-Ghaith

Flydubai has said it would be open to going into partnership with London-based low-cost carrier easyjet in a bid to open up the budget market between Dubai and Europe.

Late last year, investors looking to develop Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport said UK-based low-cost carrier easyjet was interested to expand its network of routes to Europe from its Gulf base in Amman.

Flydubai also operates to the Jordanian capital and any partnership between the two low-cost carriers would offer their customers a cost effective option between Dubai and Europe, without competing in each other’s target markets.

“We co-operate wherever there is room to co-operate. Specifically with easyJet out of Amman - not right now. But we are always open-minded about doing more co-operation. There are a lot of untapped markets,” flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai.

European low cost carriers are increasingly being courted to enter the Middle East market. Last year, Lebanese Tourism Minister Fady Abboud said authorities in Lebanon were in talks with low cost carriers, including easyJet and Ryanair, about starting operations to the country in a bid to boost a tourism industry.

Similarly, Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air announced it will launch commercial services at Dubai’s second airport in October, initially offering flights to four European destinations.

The airline plans to offer flights from Dubai World Central (DWC) to Budapest (Hungary), Kiev (Ukraine), Bucharest (Romania) and Sofia (Bulgaria) from 28 October, with flights costing from AED349 ($95).

At present, a return flight on June 6 with flydubai to Amman costs around AED1,161, with an onward return flight with easyjet to London costing AED1,693. Even with a total of AED2,854, this is still 30 percent cheaper than AED4,165 direct with Emirates.

The low-cost model between Dubai and Europe is already a workable reality as Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines is offering AED1,698 return from Dubai to London via Istanbul.

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