APEX: Flydubai Says Low Cost Doesn't Mean 'No Frills'
By Barbara Saunders | Abu Dhabi. Dubai's low cost airline Flydubai should not be confused with a 'no frills' carrier, according to the airline's VP Inflight Product Daniel Kerrison. Speaking at the Aviation Passenger Experience (APEX) conference in Abu Dhabi, Kerrison explained that moves by the carrier, including the 2013 launch of a business class product, did not mean it was competing with other scheduled carriers but living up to Dubai's image.
“The word ‘Dubai’ conjures up certain expectations so the “no frills” concept does not apply to our operations. We are a low cost airline – which means we keep our costs low. For us it’s about choice – allowing our customers the choice. We can keep our costs low because we operate one type of airliner (737-800s) which gives us optimum efficiency and flexibility, lowers training costs and costs related to maintenance and spare parts. Our aircraft utilisation is currently 14.5 hours per day which is one of the highest for the 737 on the planet.”
Kerrison said Flydubai’s model has not changed from Day One though it does offer inflight entertainment for a passenger fee. “We’ve simply added options,” he said. And the business class not only fulfills expectations of Dubai but responds to untapped demand.
“Of the 94 cities that we operate to, many did not have direct links with Dubai prior to our arrival and of those that did, many did not have a business class product. We don’t see ourselves as competing with other UAE airlines, most of our traffic is specifically in and out of Dubai.”
Kerrison said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity (IFEC) would eventually become the norm for all airlines. “But we’re not there yet.” Flydubai currently uses one App to stream content of choice and open conversation with the many diverse nationalities that make up its passenger base. “For instance we have 40 different newspapers on our system for people to download and read in their language of choice and we will continue to grow our product.”