Flydubai eyes flights to Australia

Emirates’ value-minded sibling wants to spread its wings to Australia, Bangkok and London.

By David Flynn, May 14 2024
Flydubai eyes flights to Australia

Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways – is Australia ready for a fourth Gulf carrier in the shape of Flydubai? (Let alone a likely fifth, once Saudi Arabian startup Riyadh Air begins flying from mid-2025.)

Like Emirates, Flydubai is a state-owned airline – it also shares the same Chairman as Emirates, uses the Emirates Skywards loyalty program and codeshares on Emirates flights.

And while Flydubai eschews the luxe touches of Emirates, its Boeing 737s offer business class in a mix of recliners for short-medium range flights and flatbeds for medium-long journeys.

Those 737s already ply their way as far east as Pattaya and Penang, and west to Italy and Switzerland.

But in as soon as two years Flydubai expects to take delivery of new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners which will dramatically expand its reach.

“The main goal of the Boeing 787 will be to fly us farther and into new markets,” explains  Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith.

“I think of London in Europe, and Bangkok Thailand. Maybe also to Australia, which the Dreamliners will enable us to achieve with their exceptional range,” Al Ghaith told Italian blog The Flight Club on the sidelines of the recent Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.

Al Ghaith added that the Flydubai 787s would “very likely” include “a premium economy cabin” – something else that’s new to Flydubai, but also aligns with Emirates’ own premium economy push.

However, Al Ghaith said sounded a note of caution on possible delays to the Dreamliner’s debut.

“We are not sure if Boeing can meet the 2026 deadline, given the delays it is experiencing in deliveries.”

As for Emirates, plenty is happening – including a fresh Boeing 777 business class which ditches the much-hated middle seat, the arrival of new Airbus A350 jets with a “next generation” business class, and a rolling upgrade to the flagship A380s, which Emirates expects to keep flying into the 2040s.

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