Complex Made Simple

flydubai’s H2 profits of $43 million was no fluke

For the reporting period ending 31 December 2018, flydubai announced a second-half profit of AED157 million ($43m) driven by stronger yields and revenue growth. 

Key Results for 2018

  • flydubai reports total annual revenue of AED 6.2 billion ($1.7 bn) compared to AED5.5 billion ($1.5bn) last year; an increase of 12.4% compared to the same period the previous year
  • Total annual operating cost includes a price impact of AED411m ($112m) in fuel costs due to a 31% increase in the average Brent Crude oil prices over the same period last year.
  • 11 million passengers travelled across the flydubai network; a moderate year on year increase
  • Took delivery of a total of 7 new Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft

Statements on the 2018 Annual Results

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “In line with expectations, 2018 was a challenging year, however, we have continued to invest in our capacity and increased revenue.  We optimised our network by increasing flight frequencies on existing routes and adding new routes and as they become established they will support our further growth.” 

Saj Ahmad, Chief Analyst – StrategicAero Research told AMEinfo:

“Flydubai's performance highlights the evolution of the competitive landscape around the GCC and with its traditionally stronger second half of the year forging ahead, the airline is well placed to start this year on a more robust footing.

“While revenues were up over 12% over the same time a year ago, passenger growth was modest, highlighting the ever-growing choices and competition – crucially, flydubai's strong yield growth up over 8% demonstrates that the airline is making more money per seat than before.”

Cost and revenue performance

. Fuel costs were 29.8 % of total annual operating costs; compared to 25% for the same period as last year. 

. Yield: there was an improvement in yield by 8.4% over the same period in the previous year.

. Ancillary revenue comprising baggage, cargo and inflight sales contributed 9.4% of revenue compared to 11.9% last year.

. Financing: During 2018, the airline closed two financing structures to support the delivery of four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft. The airline continues to see a strong appetite for the financing of this fuel-efficient narrow-body aircraft.

. flydubai has also secured a financing facility through a consortium of commercial banks with a tenure of 10 years to support the construction of its new headquarters due for completion in the first half of 2020.

Operational performance

Fleet management: 

7 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft were delivered to the airline and four Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft, at the end of their operating lease, were taken out of service.

“Flydubai’s unique hybrid dual-class cabin offerings where it's business class suite aboard its new 737 MAx fleet has been a real hit with passengers,” says Ahmad.

“Despite the sharp 5% rise in fuel costs to 30%, flydubai's induction of the new fuel-efficient 737MAX will aid the longer term strategy of suppressing operational costs while expanding its network.”

Sustained network expansion: 

flydubai launched flights to four new markets and for the first time saw the start of year-round operations to Catania, Helsinki and Krakow as well as a summer seasonal operation to Dubrovnik.

. flydubai contributed 31% of the total growth at Dubai Airports for Europe, contributing 6% of overall traffic to the region, up by 1% from the same period last year. 

. flydubai increased the number of passengers carried from Bulgaria by 56%, from Romania by 45%, from Russia by 42%, from Serbia by 35% and Ukraine by 2%.

. flydubai increased the number of passengers carried from Bahrain by 14%, from Kuwait by 6% and from Oman by 4%.

. Terminal 3: flydubai started operations to 11 destinations at Terminal 3, Dubai International as a next step in the codeshare partnership with Emirates to optimise connectivity for passengers.

Key Results


31 December 2018

 31 December 2017

RPKM (2) (% growth)



ASKM (3) (million)



Passenger numbers (million)



Fleet size (no. of aircraft)



Average aircraft age

3 years 8 months

3 years 11 months

flydubai’s share of traffic at Dubai Airports



Aircraft Utilisation – average block hours per aircraft per day



Total Departures



Morning Push

On time <30 minutes




On time <30 minutes




On time <30 minutes



Total staff numbers



 Outlook for 2019

A growing fleet: during the course of the year ahead, flydubai will see, for the first time, three Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft commence operations from February 2019.  In 2019, seven Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft will join the fleet. Nine Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft will be returned to the lessors at the end of their operating lease.

Network expansion and codeshare partnership: flydubai has announced the launch of operations to four new destinations: Kozhikode which launched on 01 February, Tashkent which will be launched on 11 March, Naples on 04 June, Budapest on 27 June and the airline restarted operations to Chittagong on 20 January and operations will resume to Hofuf from 16 March. These destinations will operate as part of the expanded codeshare with Emirates and their combined network is on track to reach 240 destinations by 2022.

“Flydubai's integration with Emirates will further bolster its financial muscle in the coming year as it reaps the benefits of better interline connections at Terminal 3 while harnessing higher fare paying passengers from Emirates' network,” concludes Ahmad.