Low-cost airline flydubai carried 2.35 million passengers in the first-quarter of this year, up 114 per cent compared to the same period last year, as the travel industry continues to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have continued our growth in 2022 capitalising on the tremendous results we reported for 2021,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive of flydubai, on Sunday, report agencies.
Air passenger traffic showed a strong rebound in February 2022, compared with the previous month, as the Omicron-related impact receded outside Asia, said the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Passenger traffic in February grew nearly 116 per cent annually and was up almost 55 per cent compared with February 2019 levels, Iata said in its Air Passenger Market Analysis report last month. The conflict in Ukraine, which began on February 24, had only a limited effect on air travel demand during the month, it said.
Flydubai operated 19,000 flights in the three months to the end of March as governments eased movement restrictions and the travel industry rebounded. Demand for connecting traffic also jumped during the period, with 43 per cent of passengers connecting to the carrier’s network, compared with 28 per cent in the same period last year. Business-class travel also grew in the first quarter.
“Our strong business model, supported by our ongoing recruitment drive to grow our workforce in parallel with the scheduled aircraft deliveries this year, will see that we are well placed to accommodate the surge in demand as more people get ready to travel again over the summer”, Mr Al Ghaith said.
Flydubai has taken the delivery of four new aircraft this year, growing its fleet of Boeing 737s to 63 planes, to serve more destinations. The airline is expected to take delivery of 18 more aircraft over the next few months as it continues to expand its fleet.
The Dubai-based airline relaunched flights to Yanbu in Saudi Arabia in February and added AlUla and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen to its growing network in March. It is also planning to start flights to several new destinations, including Pisa in Italy and Izmir in Turkey, starting this summer amid higher demand.
Flydubai swung to profit in 2021, as passenger numbers grew on the back of the easing of travel restrictions and improving economic conditions worldwide.
The airline posted a Dh841 million ($229m) profit in 2021, compared with a Dh712.6m loss in 2020, when the travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic. Annual revenue grew 86 per cent to Dh5.3 billion last year as passenger numbers rose 76 per cent to 5.6 million.