DALLAS — Today, flydubai (FZ), Dubai’s low-cost carrier, announced that it will build a purpose-built MRO facility in the Dubai South by 2026. The facility will cost US$190 million as FZ continues to expand its fleet. Recently, FZ announced an order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, their first widebody aircraft in their history, with delivery of these Dremialiners starting in 2026.
The order was announced on the third day of the Dubai Airshow in a signing ceremony between flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith, and Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation and Dubai South. At the signing ceremony, the Dubai-based carrier said it plans to use the MRO facility, which will enable the airline to have faster turnaround times for the maintenance of its fleet.
An MRO facility is an aircraft maintenance facility that can perform required maintenance or inspection on aircraft. The term MRO, which stands for maintenance, repair, and operations, is integral for airlines as they are in charge of servicing all planes. Most major commercial carriers have MRO facilities owned and operated by the airline and located at their primary hub. These MROs provide all services and repairs for the airline’s fleet. While some airlines subcontract work to other airlines, most major airlines have their own MRO facilities.
CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith noted the importance of this MRO facility, which will be the carrier’s first MRO facility, stating:
“Dubai has emerged as a thriving aviation hub that fosters connectivity, innovation, growth, and setting benchmarks for the global aviation industry. The spirit of Dubai is in our DNA, and we are proud to announce today the plans for our MRO facility, which represents a new chapter in our journey. At flydubai, we continue to invest in our people and technologies and build solid foundations to enable further growth as part of our role in supporting Dubai’s economic and aviation vision.”
The announcement comes after sister carrier Emirates (EK) announced its plans to build a maintenance facility near Dubai’s Al Maktoum Airport (DWC). FZ, along with Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, will develop the MRO facility by 2026, with work slated to begin next year.
Flydubai has substantially grown to become a major player out of its Dubai hub and has continued to find success in the low-cost model since its first aircraft order in 2008. Today, the airline boasts a network spanning more than 115 destinations across 54 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. What’s more, 75 of its routes were not previously served by a UAE airline or had no flights to or from Dubai. Currently, FZ operates a fleet of 30 Boeing 737-800s and 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which include 47 737-8s and three 737-9s. Flydubai has orders for a further 137 Boeing 737 MAX.
In addition to expanding its network, FZ has bolstered its in-house maintenance capabilities. In 2022, the airline received its CAR-145 Base Maintenance Approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), allowing the airline to perform C Checks and Entry-into-Service checks for the Boeing 737 MAX jet. This has given FZ both cost and operational efficiencies
Comments from Dubay Aviation City Cooperation CEO
Khalifa Al Zaffin, CEO of Dubai Aviation City Cooperation and Dubai South, commented:
“flydubai’s new facility in Dubai South reflects our commitment to enhancing the ecosystem that contributes to the growth and sustainability of the aviation industry. This partnership reaffirms Dubai’s position as a global aviation hub and reinforces our shared vision of providing world-class aviation services to our partners.”
Today, FZ has a team of 455 engineers working in Line Maintenance, Technical Services, Materials, and Workshops who are responsible for ensuring the airworthiness and safety of FZ’s growing aircraft fleet. The airline further stated that over 230 additional engineers will join their growing maintenance staff over the next year, putting the airline well-positioned to open its MRO facility by 2026.
Featured image: flydubai A6-FPD Boeing 737 MAX 8. Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways