Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 15 December 2019

Boeing 737 Max's continued grounding may have 'significant' impact on flydubai's second half results

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed says airline could miss out on revenue from key holiday periods over Christmas and Easter

Flydubai is the second-biggest customer for Boeing's grounded 737 Max jet after Southwest Airlines in the US. Courtesy flydubai
Flydubai is the second-biggest customer for Boeing's grounded 737 Max jet after Southwest Airlines in the US. Courtesy flydubai

The chairman of flydubai, the biggest customer of the grounded Boeing 737 Max outside the US, said the airline could see "significant" impact in the second half of its fiscal year if the global ban on the aircraft continues.

"Flydubai lost a lot during the summer period till now, so I would say that they will miss at least two or three periods of good revenue and profit," he said, noting that Christmas, New Year and Easter holiday periods are coming up. "Whether [the grounding] goes beyond that will be seen, but that will be significant."

Boeing's best-selling narrowbody jet is in its eight month of a global grounding following two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. Flydubai is the second-biggest customer of the Max after US-based Southwest Airlines, grounding 14 Max jets from a total order of 250.

The budget carrier is in talks with Airbus for the competing A320 Neo model.

"I wish it was easy to flip from one to another," he said. "We always leave the option open."

However, Sheikh Ahmed noted Boeing's efforts to return the Max to commercial service and said flydubai remains focused on continuing talks with the plane maker about the aircraft's status.

He declined to provide a date for the re-entry of the Max into flydubai's fleet, after Boeing said it expected the jet to be ready for commercial flights by January, noting that the decision is up to aviation regulators in the US, Europe and global authorities.

In addition, flydubai will "need a lot" to prepare the aircraft to return to service after months of storage, he said.

Sheikh Ahmed met Boeing on Monday amid talks with flydubai and Emirates.

"I told them they need to communicate much better than they did in the past … I hope that they will come up with something that will be acceptable to the industry,” he said.

Sheikh Ahmed, who is also the chairman of Emirates, warned the airline could face a "tough" second half of its fiscal year due to currency fluctuations and geopolitical tensions.

Updated: November 19, 2019 06:09 PM

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