DALLAS — During the 2023 Dubai Airshow, Airways had the opportunity to have a conversation with Ghaith Al Ghaith, the CEO of flydubai (FZ), regarding the airline’s acquisition of 30 Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
This move marks a significant expansion for the Emirati government-owned airline as it transitions from being a single-fleet airline to incorporating long-haul and high-density capabilities into its network.
Mr. Al Ghaith commented that it has always been the airline’s intention to commit to the -9 variant of the 787. “We could have first ordered the Boeing 787-8 and then transitioned to the -9 version, but the -9 has always been our preferred choice, and we are looking forward to welcoming the type in our fleet.”
flydubai’s Dreamliner Operations
Mr. Al Ghaith provided us with details on the carrier’s plans for operating the Boeing 787 as part of their network expansion. Initially, the aircraft will be utilized on high-density routes, such as those to Kuwait City and Doha.
The integration of long-haul capabilities will be a gradual process. The airline’s focus will be on introducing new routes in Europe and Asia that were previously inaccessible with the Boeing 737.
Although there were no comments made about transatlantic flights during the interview, we anticipate that the Boeing 787 will open up numerous East Coast destinations that can be conveniently reached from Dubai International.
Al Maktoum International Airport Operations
When asked about the relationship and collaboration between FZ and Emirates (EK), Mr. Al Ghaith emphasized the importance of cooperation between the two airlines in terms of service and operations involving the Boeing 787, which both carriers have ordered. Although FZ is not part of the Emirates Group, EK supported the airline during the initial establishing phase.
In terms of operations at Dubai International Airport (DXB), Mr. Al Ghaith confirmed the intention to resume and enhance operations at Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), aka Dubai World Central Airport. But while the carriers at DXB offer extensive connection services, there are logistical considerations to take into account.
During the 2022 FIFA World Cup, FZ operated out of DWC, transporting football supporters to Doha. Mr. Al Ghaith fondly recalled this period, stating that it was one of the highlights of his career as both a football fan and an aviation enthusiast, witnessing the joy of the supporters upon landing at DWC.
Following last Monday’s wide-body aircraft order, FZ announced the establishment of a new US$190 million MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) facility in Dubai South. This development will further accelerate the focus on DWC in the near future.
Featured image: Simone Chellini/Airways