Career with FlyDubai

If you’re excited about building a career with one of the region’s most dynamic airlines, in one of the world’s most dynamic cities, Dubai, step up to the challenge. FlyDubai is constantly looking for experienced & highly motivated personnel…

FlyDubai recruiting for the following posts:-
Commercial Co-ordinator
Commercial Operations Manager
Maintenance Controller
Safety Specialist
Supervisor Airport Services
Airport Services Agent

Note: Closing date to receive applications is on the 12th of March 2009

FlyDubai plans rapid growth

The Dubai government’s latest airline venture aims to be region’s largest low-cost carrier – FlyDubai

New low-cost carrier FlyDubai has unveiled an ambitious business plan which should make it the Middle East’s largest low-cost carrier by 2015.

FlyDubai chief executive Ghaith al Ghaith says the carrier, created in March by the Dubai government, will launch in May and fly five 189-seat Boeing 737-800s by the end of its first year. It plans to have a fleet of 13 to 14 737s by the end of its second year and will take the last of 50 aircraft ordered at July’s Farnborough air show in 2015. FlyDubai has also agreed to lease four 737-800s from Babcock & Brown and Ghaith says “if we get the right deal we may lease some more”.

A fleet of 54 aircraft would already exceed the planned fleet of rival Air Arabia, which in 2003 became the region’s first low-cost carrier and now operates 14 A320s with another 39 on order. Air Arabia is based in Sharjah, the emirate adjacent to Dubai which has positioned its airport as a low-cost hub. FlyDubai will be based at Dubai’s new airport at Jebel Ali, which is slated to open its first of six runways and a low-cost terminal just in time for the carrier’s launch. “The runway is nearly complete now and we expect it to be in operation by the middle of next year,” says FlyDubai and Dubai Airports chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum.

Ghaith says the terminal will be basic and “simple to use”. Pricing for Jebel Ali has not yet been established by Dubai’s airport authority but Ghaith expects the charges will be lower than the basic Terminal 1 at Dubai International. FlyDubai is planning a 24-hour operation and will likely follow Air Arabia’s model of ­flying within the Gulf during the day and to the Indian subcontinent overnight.

Ghaith says FlyDubai will target a mix of business and leisure destinations within a 4.5-hour range of Dubai, which gives it access to two billion people. While restrictive bilaterals are still common in the Middle East, Ghaith expects gradual liberalisation and FlyDubai will have access to Iran, North Africa, the CIS countries, all the Gulf states and the Indian subcontinent.

He acknowledges securing rights to India’s major cities will be difficult but FlyDubai is happy to leave those destinations to Emirates given their congestion. “We will go to places that have easy access,” Ghaith says. “Any airport in India will work for us.”

The Dubai government has enlisted the help of Emirates for FlyDubai’s launch phase. But Ghaith says “by January we should be totally standalone”.

FlyDubai plans to follow a pure low-cost model, charging for food and checked bags. No connectivity is planned initially, but Emirates vice-chairman Maurice Flanagan says the two carriers could interline or codeshare at some point. He sees the two carriers as potentially having complementary networks, and explains: “They can fly to places we don’t and to places we go to that are marginal.”

One complication to any co-operation between Dubai’s two carriers, however, is Flanagan expects the new airport will not be ready for Emirates until 2020.

Besides Air Arabia, FlyDubai will compete against Jazeera, which is based in Kuwait but has a mini-hub at Dubai. Jazeera now only operates six A320s but has another 34 on order. Over the last 18 months, two low-cost carriers have also launched in Saudi Arabia and one in Bahrain. But FlyDubai is easily the most ambitious and could spark other governments in the region, such as Abu Dhabi and Qatar, to launch their own low-cost carriers.

Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan says he is now focused on growing Etihad but “we always consider options and alternatives”. Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker says he has registered a low-cost brand which can be launched quickly if necessary. “As soon as we feel the pain of the low-cost carrier into our market and our market share, then we will launch a low-cost within 90 days,” he says.

FlyDubai will get its chance in the sky

FlyDubai, Dubai’s low cost air carrier

The world’s aerospace industry gathered last week at the Farnborough Air Show in England to do deals and be deafened by the roar of fighter jets. The aeronautical displays at these events are always impressive but in recent years the real show stoppers have been the press conferences held to announce new mega-orders for commercial aircraft.

The travel boom in the Middle East and Asia has led to a succession of stunning multi-billion dollar aircraft orders at air shows over the past couple of years.

These have typically featured Tim Clark, the managing director of Emirates, but at Farnborough last week the limelight was taken by other aviators from the Gulf.

Etihad, the Abu Dhabi-based airline, bought $20 billion (Dh73.4bn) of aircraft, while FlyDubai, a new low-cost carrier, announced its arrival with a $4bn order for 54 Boeing 737s.

After the FlyDubai press conference I had an opportunity to catch up with Ghaith Al Ghaith, the airline’s Chief Executive, at the Dubai Aerospace chalet. I have been skeptical about the FlyDubai concept since it was announced earlier this year because it initially looked to be only a loss leader for Emirates. Now more than ever, airlines have to have robust strategies to survive high oil prices and wasting money bringing passengers into Dubai just to fill Emirates’ enormous A380s made little sense.

As Ghaith set out his plan last week, it became clear that FlyDubai is not being established as merely a feeder network for Emirates but is rather a serious attempt to connect cities across the Middle East in an affordable way.

“Emirates does not need us,” Ghaith said. “We are focused on building a model that we think will work for us.”

FlyDubai will link cities like Tehran and Cairo as well as countries bordering the region (like the “stans”), enabling tourists and the relatives of Dubai-based workers to visit the city, often for the first time.

In the past, many of these people have not been able to travel because of the excessive cost or inconvenience of doing so.

FlyDubai will also challenge the regional carriers on local routes such as Dubai-Kuwait or Dubai-Doha in a move that will, if international experience is any guide, increase competition, improve service and lower fares.

“Dubai is a melting pot made up of people from different nations in the region,” Ghaith said. “Dubai is building itself as a trading hub and to maintain and develop that people must be able to get there easily.”

However, one the problems for a budget airline in the Middle East is that people have very different views of what “low cost” should mean. To a Qatari it might mean something other than business class, while to most Egyptians, cheap travel is a bicycle.

Creating a service to meet very different expectations would be almost impossible for a carrier that styles itself as low cost so FlyDubai has settled on a model that is very different to the classic budget airlines of Europe but is also different to the local full-service carriers such as Gulf Air.

FlyDubai passengers will be able to select their service level from an online menu when they book their ticket, allowing them to determine whether they want a snack, meal or no food.

They will be to decide what sort of drinks and entertainment they have onboard and even how they will check-in at the airport.

By encouraging passengers to order in advance FlyDubai will have more flexibility to offer, for example, quality meals, unlike budget airlines in the rest of the world where food is an afterthought at best. This is obviously good for passengers but also for the airline as it will make a large proportion of its profits from these ancillary services.

“This is the FlyDubai model, not anybody else’s,” Ghaith said.

While FlyDubai appears to be laying solid foundations I am concerned about how much the airline has to get done if it is to be operational by this time next year – its stated aim.

It only ordered its first aircraft last week, it still does not know where its first destination will be, and it has not hired cabin crew or pilots.

There are some areas where it can take a shortcut, and save money, by partnering with its big brother Emirates.

It can outsource training, catering and fuel purchasing, which will provide economies of scale and may also help eliminate some of the errors that are inevitable when a new airline is launched.

There is a lot to get right in 12 months but if FlyDubai succeeds, we can expect this airline to make more big announcements at air shows in the future.

Flydubai plans to use fuel hedging to maintain low fares

New low-cost airline Flydubai plans to use a fuel hedging strategy to maintain the lowest fares in the industry, recently appointed COO Kenneth Gile has said.

Plans for the Dubai-based carrier’s launch in mid-2009 are being finalised at a time when budget operators are struggling to stay “budget”.

Volatile fuel prices are putting pressure on them to raise fares and surcharges.

Gile spent 25 years with US-based Southwest Airlines, one of the world’s most profitable carriers which is acclaimed for its successful fuel hedging strategy.

And he said the US budget company’s model could be applied to Flydubai.

Southwest’s aggressive hedging programme has saved it an estimated $3.5 billion (Dh12.8bn) since 1999.

“We are focusing on implementing a successful hedging plan and Southwest Airline’s hedging strategy is something we could look at,” Gile told Emirates Business.

“We are considering it and have already started some preliminary processes. We are developing a hedging plan right now. Fuel is one of the biggest expenses for any airline so we have to look at ways to control it in order to be able to offer the lowest fares in the region.”

Flydubai is aiming to heavily leverage technology to bring down its costs.

“We will be heavy on the IT side of things,” added Gile. “This means that we will do whatever we can to deliver low weight paper, implement electronic bookings, use IT in the back office systems and so on. And we will leverage that to the maximum dollar.”

Other cost-saving measures are likely to include using efficient engines that cut fuel consumption to the minimum, fitting lightweight seats and having efficient ground operations.

“By keeping the fuel burn to the minimum and having successful fuel hedging you can keep the price as low as possible – and we want to focus on being the lowest cost carrier.”

Flydubai is examining the markets it needs to serve as it formulates an aggressive marketing strategy.

The carrier, which is being assisted by Emirates, will offer services to Dubai from the whole Middle East region, North and East Africa, Southeast Europe and the Subcontinent.

“More than two billion people live less than a five-hour flight from Dubai and we plan to offer more customers more opportunities to travel home,” said Gile.

Flydubai, which has start-up capital of Dh250 million, will begin operations at the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali with two planes initially. The carrier placed a $4bn order at last month’s Farnborough International Airshow for 54 Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

It will own 50 and will lease the other four from Babcock and Brown Aircraft Management. It plans to increase its current 25-strong staff to 600 by 2010 and has already begun the process of appointing pilots.

“We will not be using Emirates’ pilots, we will recruit our own,” said Gile.

“Emirates is assisting us but eventually we will be a separate entity. We are working on getting launched and being independent.

“Flying low-cost to major markets, non-stop, with new jets is the core strategy we are working on,” said Gile.

The numbers

$3.5bn: Has been saved by Southwest due to its aggressive hedging programme

Dh250m: Is the start-up capital of Flydubai and it will initially fly two planes

$4bn: Order placed by the airline at Farnborough for 54 Boeing 737-800