The profitable Low-Cost Carrier FlyDubai has tapped Boeing for 20 new 737 MAX aircraft to boost their capacity amidst pandemic recovery
The latest in the 737 MAX story sees global airlines rushing to re-introduce Boeing’s popular narrowbody after regulators began ruling the aircraft ‘safe to fly’ after the global fleet was grounded due to the fatal crashes back in 2018 and 2019. A move that no doubt came as a relief to the manufacturer after battling through a pandemic and legal troubles relating to the incident. With the 737 MAX becoming profitable again, LCCs like FlyDubai have increasingly looked to the narrowbody as a popular addition to their fleets. The aircraft is a sensible choice for these airlines, with its 7,130KM range, modern tech, and recently a security seal garnered through months of rigorous inspection all proving the MAX to be an attractive option. FlyDubai themselves are now expecting a delivery of 20 MAXs over the course of this year, a huge amount even for an established legacy carrier, let alone an LCC still recovering from the pandemic. “With the lifting of restrictions across our network and increasing demand for travel, we are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead notwithstanding the geopolitical situation and its potential effect on the pricing of commodities.” Stated Chief Executive Ghaith Al Ghaith.
So, what’s been driving this growth? Well, the short story is that a whole bunch of factors, many of which relate to the pandemic, have proved to be rather favourable for the growth of LCCs. See my article here for the longer story. Suffice to say, LCCs have been experiencing massive growth over the last few years. FlyDubai is no exception, with the LCC opening 22 new routes last year alone, the airline has managed to pull in a full year profit for 2021 of around $229 million, with total revenues of nearly 1 and a half billion dollars. That’s actually an increase on their pre-pandemic figures, and frankly, an eye-watering amount of cash to be making in a world still gripped by Covid. That number is only going to grow as consumer confidence slowly returns, and whatever travel restrictions are left slowly get phased out. The future is bright, then, for LCCs like FlyDubai – but also for Boeing and the 737 MAX. The aircraft does seem to be popular amongst LCCs, with start-ups like India’s Akasa Air ordering a whopping 72 of the jets back at last year’s Dubai Airshow. In total, the end of last year saw 109 gross orders for the 737 MAX, with those orders still flooding in well into 2022. Plus, if even after all those rounds of safety inspections and consumer confidence well and truly returning, you still need convincing of the 737 MAXs return to popularity – just look to the fact that Ethiopian Airlines themselves (the airline which suffered the often referenced 2019 disaster) have already returned the airline to service. FlyDubai and the infamous 737 MAX are definitely on the up. I just hope they continue to soar in this post-pandemic world.