Flydubai reports loss for H1 2019 on impact of 737 MAX grounding

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Flydubai reported losses totaling 196.7 million for H1 2019, a 38 percent reduction in losses year-on-year, the airline said on Monday. The firm said its results were “significantly impacted” by the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

The airline currently maintains 14 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, all of which have been out of use since March this year after global regulators grounded the aircraft model following two fatal crashes involving in Indonesia and Ethiopia, which combined left 346 people dead.

Total revenue remained unchanged year-on-year at 2.8 billion dirhams for H1 2019.

“We had seen positive results as our routes matured and during the first few months of the year we saw strong demand across the network,” said flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith in a statement.

“Our performance has, however, been significantly impacted by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and our half-year results are not representative of what we had expected to report; we were expecting a significantly improved performance.”

The grounding of the 737 MAX has brought the number of aircraft in operation by flydubai to the same number the airline operated in 2014. This has had an impact on passenger numbers, the airline said, as it has experienced a reduction in capacity, with numbers dropping to five million for H1 2019, a 7.5 percent decrease year-on-year.

Al Ghaith added that the airline is in “ongoing discussions with Boeing,” describing the aircraft manufacturer as a “long-standing partner,” with the aim of resolving the issue of the grounded 737 MAX.

The airline continues to expect its performance to be impacted should the grounding continue through to the end of the year.

Recent reports suggest that “key safeguards” were left off the 737 MAX’s anti-stall system. Boeing is purportedly working on a fix to the aircraft’s system, but it is still unknown when the planes will be able to return to service.

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