United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier, flydubai, will introduce flights to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia before the end of this year as the expansion of its fleet of Next-Generation 737-800 airliners allows it to continue its network growth. The new flights to Sarajevo and Zagreb will launch in December 2014 and will follow the carrier’s expansion in India, Russia and entry into the Kazakhstan market during the second half of this year.
flydubai will this month introduce three new 737-800s into its fleet, the latest arriving in Dubai earlier this week after a long delivery flight from Seattle via Glasgow, UK and Amman, Jordan. These additional aircraft will grow the flydubai fleet to 39 737-800s and a further four are scheduled to arrive before the end of the year.
flydubai will become the first carrier to operate direct flights from Dubai to both Sarajevo and Zagreb. It will introduce a twice weekly link to Sarajevo from December 8, 2014, while a three times weekly offering to Zagreb will follow from December 16, 2014. Both routes will be served by its dual-class 737-800s which have a dedicated cabin at the front of the aircraft with three rows of more spacious 2x2 seating. This results in the overall capacity of the 737-800 declining from 189 to 174 seats.
“We remain focused on opening up underserved markets and strengthening air links from Dubai’s aviation hub to the region. The new flights to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia represent new opportunities for travel, trade and tourism for passengers in both countries and the UAE,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer, flydubai.
The fleet expansion will also support flydubai’s growth in other markets, including new flights to Delhi, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in India, a new daily link to Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport from September 23, 2014 and its debut in Kazakhstan with links to Almaty and Shymkent.
These routes were all announced earlier this year but flydubai has now confirmed its operational plans in Kazakhstan with four times weekly flights between Dubai and Almaty starting from September 16, 2014 and twice weekly flights between Dubai and Shymkent commencing from September 19, 2014.
Kazakhstan is certainly an emerging market in Central Asia but despite Air Astana and Air Company SCAT offering flights to Dubai in the past, data from OAG Schedules Analyser shows there have been no scheduled non-stop flights into Kazakhstan from the UAE metropolis since February 2013 after Air Astana focused its operations at Abu Dhabi.
“Kazakhstan is a growing economy with a wealth of investment opportunities and exciting tourist attractions, while Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia have an abundance of nature and culture to explore. We are pleased to provide a direct air link to these destinations,” said Jeyhun Efendi, senior vice president commercial (UAE, EU, ME, CIS), flydubai.
The airline has the most comprehensive network of all Middle Eastern carriers to the CEE and CIS regions and has built up a network of: nine points in Russia, three points in Ukraine and two points in Kazakhstan in addition to Ashgabat, Baku, Belgrade, Bishkek, Bucharest, Chisinau, Dushanbe, Sarajevo, Skopje, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Zagreb. Its network in the regions from year-end will encompass 26 destinations across a total network that includes 75 points within a five-and-a-half-hour flying radius of Dubai.
The carrier has just celebrated its fifth anniversary, a period during which it has seen rapid network growth. It launched flights on June 1, 2009 with service from Dubai to Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan and is now firmly established as one of the major low-cost carriers serving the Arab States of the Gulf. In our analysis, below, we highlight flydubai’s rapid capacity growth over the past five years. This has seen it grow its share of capacity at its Dubai International Airport base to 12.1 per cent last year.