x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

To Russia with love for budget carrier flydubai

The budget airline will add Yekaterinburg, Russia's fifth largest city, to its international network from October.

The budget airline flydubai will add Yekaterinburg, Russia's fifth largest city, to its international network from October. The city, lying in the foothills of the Ural Mountains, is best known as the place where Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. On October 16 it will become the 23rd destination for flydubai, based at Dubai International Airport's Terminal 2.

"Yekaterinburg has much to attract business and leisure travellers," said Ghaith al Ghaith, the chief executive of flydubai. "Trade between Russia and the UAE has grown considerably in recent years and the addition of a direct air link with the commercially important city of Yekaterinburg will help strengthen the relationship between the two countries." The flydubai expansion into the Russian market follows Air Arabia, based in Sharjah, which opened a low-cost flight to the city of Samara last year. The service to Yekaterinburg will operate twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The budget carrier is the second-largest airline to serve Dubai airport after Emirates Airline. It has sought to create a niche for itself by flying to popular tourist destinations in the Middle East and smaller markets in the wider region, such as Yekaterinburg and Djibouti, that are not big enough for full-service airlines such as Emirates. Flydubai launched in June last year with an initial US$4 billion (Dh14.69bn), 50-aircraft order from Boeing for 737-800 single-aisle aircraft.

The carrier has since embarked on one of the fastest airline launches ever, opening a new route once every two and a half weeks on average. igale@thenational.ae