Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Flydubai leases four Boeing 737-800 aircraft to add capacity during holiday season

The leased aircraft will support the airline's operations while its Boeing 737 Max jets remain grounded

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

Flydubai, the Dubai-based low-cost carrier, is taking four next generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Smartwings on a wet lease, as it seeks to add capacity during the busy holiday season in the wake of continued grounding of its 737 Max fleet.

Flydubai has finalised an agreement for additional aircraft with the Czech airline, which will support flydubai’s fleet of 40 737-800 jets during the busy season, the airline said in a statement on Thursday. The wet lease runs from December 14 until January 25, it added.

A wet lease is a leasing arrangement whereby the lessor provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance (ACMI) to another airline, which pays by the hours operated.

Flydubai, the biggest customer of the grounded Boeing 737 Max outside the US, is facing headwinds amid continued grounding of the troubled aircraft and continues to review its plans, exploring all options to minimise disruption to its passengers. The grounded aircraft will not re-join the operating schedule until it receives clearance from the UAE’s aviation regulator, General Civil Aviation Authority, the airline noted.

“The continued grounding of our MAX aircraft has had a significant impact on our operations with a 30 per cent reduction of our flying schedule,” Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive of flydubai, said. “We are taking every effort to minimise disruption …. these four additional aircraft will enable more passengers to have more options to travel during the holiday season.”

The grounding of the 737 Max could make a "significant" impact in the second half of flydubai’s fiscal year, if the global ban on the aircraft continued, Mr Al Ghaith said last month.

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. It has grounded 14 Max jets from a total order of 250.

The all-economy class leased aircraft from Smartwings will operate on select routes on the flydubai network including Bahrain, Colombo, Faisalabad, Karachi, Kuwait, Muscat, Multan, Prague and Sialkot, the airline said on Thursday. Flydubai passengers booked to travel on a flight operated by Smartwings will be notified prior to their travel date, it added.

Updated: November 28, 2019 04:40 PM

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