a man in a white robe with a suitcase standing in front of an airplane

CEO Talks: flydubai considers Airbus A321LR Orders

flydubai hopes to make a new aircraft order soon. The long-term Boeing operator is open for Airbus as the A320neo family range creates new opportunities, flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith told me in Dubai.

“As a matter of fact it has been a long time, since 2017, we have not made any aircraft order“, Ghaith told me for Sam Chui CEO Talks in Dubai on May 2. “It is high time to make a new order in the very near future. I hope we can do something this year, I hope in time for the Dubai Air Show“, he added.

Al Ghaith said, it is an ongoing dialog with Airbus and Boeing. The carrier always had a open, transparent competition for flydubai. “Whatever gives us the right deal, we go for it. I think we did this already three times (ordering aircraft based on this strategy - with Boeing).

“We really like the Airbus A320neo extra range, this gives us a variety of flights which we are not able to go with our current aircraft“.

flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith

Al Ghaith said and describes that the A321neoLR has definitely a big advantage for Airbus versus Boeing.

“The A321XLR is not very attractive for us, but the A321LR gives us a beautiful band of expansion. I can’t tell you the exact number of destinations, but definitely, it gives us a handful of destinations that is a huge plus“.

flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith

However, the Boeing fleet has served flydubai extremely well. “We are working very closely with them." The MAX 10 has been also always an option for flydubai and the carrier continues to look at it, but there is no decision yet to take it or not.

flydubai operates currently 76 Boeing 737-800 and 737-8/737-9s. Two additional aircraft are not in service at the moment and return after maintenance work. 

Up to a further ten 737 MAX aircraft are expected for delivery this year. “Our pipeline of new aircraft is something like over 140 aircraft“, Al Ghaith said.

“Not all aircraft we wanted came on time. Last year was a horrible year (in terms of deliveries). This year is still bad and maybe 2024 will be better.“

flydubai operates an aircraft for around eight to ten years. “Some of these aircraft which are ours, we try to keep them as long as we can. Because there is so much demand and shortage of aircraft“. That's why flydubai will not phase out of any aircraft. "Some aircraft which are leaving us (leasing), we re-negotiate to keep them longer“, the CEO said.

"That means, if you have an aircraft life expectation of eight to ten years, you have to change them very quickly“, Al Ghaith said.

Al Ghaith confirms a manufacturer like Embraer for regional-size aircraft is no solution. “We focus on these two manufacturers (Airbus and Boeing)“.

The Business Suite

On May 1, flydubai announced a new Business Class product.

The Business Suite will be introduced on a number of the carrier’s newest aircraft in the last quarter of 2023 and will be deployed on select flights. The new product will be first installed on its 737 MAX 8, with 10 Suites on board. The MAX 9 will follow.

a seat in a plane

“We started this process of a new Business Class more than two years ago, where we were exploring“, Al Ghaith said. Regarding the success of its Business Class offering already lie-flat seats, the carrier has evolved over the last ten years, the time when it started to offer business class.

“We have a plan for how to roll out the business suites through our fleet. And we think this seat will go on our furthest routes that we fly too“, Al Ghaith added.