FlyDubai in early talks with Boeing, Airbus about next jet order

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FlyDubai, the low-cost sister company of giant long-haul airline Emirates, said it’s in early talks with both Boeing Co. and Airbus SE about its next jetliner order after previously being a loyal customer of the US company.

While FlyDubai is an all-Boeing operator, it scrapped 65 orders for the 737 Max model after deliveries were halted following two fatal crashes. Chief Executive Officer Ghaith Al-Ghaith said the US firm’s European rival is in the running as it fleshes out fleet plans with demand recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“We’re in dialog with Airbus and Boeing about new orders, Al-Ghaith said in an interview Sunday at the Dubai Airshow. He added that the negotiations are preliminary and that there’ll be no deal until the timing is right.

FlyDubai turned cash positive as early as last November and has surpassed pre-pandemic levels in terms of passenger numbers and aircraft movements, the CEO said. The recovery has been led by markets such as Russia, where it’s serving 11 destinations, with demand from nearby Gulf states still subdued amid ongoing travel restrictions.

“We put a lot of flights into places that we think will bring tourists, Al-Ghaith said. “It’s the start of a bigger recovery that will continue into next year and beyond. He added that though Gulf markets are still less than halfway back, though there’s evidence of high pent-up demand.

FlyDubai will take delivery of 33 Max planes from June through the end of next year while retiring 10 or 12 older 737 models.

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