Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Flydubai's expansion underscores the high demand for the UAE's sun-and-sand holidays for residents of Eastern Europe and Russia.Galen Clarke / The National
Flydubai's expansion underscores the high demand for the UAE's sun-and-sand holidays for residents of Eastern Europe and Russia.Galen Clarke / The National

Flydubai will help Russians top up their winter tan

The Dubai budget carrier Flydubai is focusing on Ukraine and southern Russia for its next area of expansion.

Dubai's budget airline plans to tap demand for winter sun and sand from Russian tourists.

Flydubai is planning a major foray into the country and neighbouring Ukraine with five new routes next month.

The expansion, an unusually heavy focus on one region for a budget airline that flies throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, underscores the high demand for the UAE's sun-and-sand holidays for residents of eastern Europe and Russia.

Tourism will serve as a "launching pad" for the flights, said Ghaith Al Ghaith, the chief executive of flydubai, who said next month's launch date was timed to coincide with the start of the winter travel season.

The UAE competes against Egypt and Turkey for tourists from this region, he said. "These routes are mainly targeting tourists coming into the UAE. But the services will also cater to business traffic." The new services starting up next month include Kiev, Kharkov and Donetsk in Ukraine, and Kazan and Ufa in southern Russia. Flydubai already operates two other services to Russia, to Samara and Yekaterinburg.

The services are the latest in the airline's steep growth path, which includes flying a total of 40 destinations in just over two years, targeting markets such as Djibouti, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Although the Middle East is home to some of the world's largest international carries, southern Russia and Ukraine have limited connectivity with the Gulf. Emirates does not have any services to the region, although the Sharjah-based Air Arabia serves Kiev, and Etihad uses a code-share arrangement to fly to the Ukrainian capital, as well as operating its own services to Minsk, in neighbouring Belarus.

In the wider eastern European region, Qatar Airways flies to Tbilisi, Baku and Bucharest.

Flydubai was spreading the risk of flying to three destinations in one country by servicing each Ukrainian city just twice or three times weekly, Mr Al Ghaith said.

"We are tied up in a way that pretty much guarantees a certain level of business to ensure all routes will be successful from day one," he said.

The designation of Ukraine as a co-host for the Euro 2012 football championship, a major tournament that attracted 1.1 million spectators when it was last held in 2008, would help to boost flydubai's operations next summer.

The airline was also planning to market the flights to UAE residents seeking a taste of the region's antiquated charm and its historic palaces and churches, said Mr Al Ghaith.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 A sign points the way to an outdoor market popular with German visitors on the Polish side of the German-Polish border. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

In pictures: A decade since the European Union went east

May 1 will mark 10 years since the European Union expanded east, taking in countries like Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states as new members. And though the border region between Germany and Poland is flourishing with trade and cultural exchange, the open border has also brought a sharp rise in crime.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National