The recent strategic partnership between flydubai and Russia aims to further strengthen not just the two carriers, but also the hub of Dubai. Jeyhun Efendi, Senior President – Commercial Operations UAE, Middle East, Europe and CIS, flydubai, speaks with TravTalk on their plans.
Could you share flydubai’s the plan of action?
From the start of our operations in 2009, flydubai was created to connect Dubai with underserved markets and to strengthen tourism and business traffic. Following the strategy, we have introduced Russian destinations in the early years of our operations and have started mainly flights to regions of Russia which either didn’t have direct flights or didn’t have regular flights around the year.
How was the performance of the Russian market? Over the years we have seen a growth of several folds of tourism traffic but in the last four years, there has been a slight decline in passenger numbers due to the economic crisis, although with the removal of the visa restrictions for the Russian nationals in February 2017, we have seen a huge growth in passenger numbers.
What are the plans for the upcoming season?
We have doubled our capacity into Russia this year, so now we are operating to 10 cities in Russia including Moscow and nine regional airports. We are further doubling our capacity in general in terms of the number of flights as we believe that having a regular source of flights will further boost in passenger numbers. We are also operating our 58 brand new fleet of 737-800 aircrafts and by next year, we shall have a further addition of 80 737 Max order. We will double the capacity to 50 flights per week to 10 Russian cities and also start operations to Makhachkala in south of Russia, Voronezh and Ufa in central Russia.
Could you throw light on the partnership with Emirates? Several months ago, our Chairman H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saheed Al Maktoum announced the strategic partnership with Emirates Airlines. Over the past few weeks the code-share network was opened between Emirates airline and flydubai. Effective November 1, 2017, all of flydubai Russian flights will have Emirates codeshare which would mean that Emirates would be able to connect from all of the network of Emirates to flydubai and vice versa.
How many codeshare will you have with Emirates over the next few weeks?
flydubai operates to over 95 destinations, out of which, 60 routes were never connected to Dubai by Emirates or any other airline. Combining over 60 destinations with Emirates, we will reach 200 plus routes that can connect via Dubai International Airport. We plan to codeshare on all our routes. We started with 30 routes two weeks ago, and would eventually be introducing 30 more over the next couple of weeks. We plan to finish all the flydubai network with Emirates by the end of the year