Dubai’s low-cost carrier flydubai earned Dh31.6 million (US$8.6 million) profits during 2016, with total revenue reaching Dh5 billion ($1.36 billion), rising 2.4% compared to the same period in 2015, the Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
The airline also recorded a 14.4% increase in passenger numbers last year, carrying 10.4 million passengers over a 12-month period compared to 9.04 million passengers in 2015.
The stronger second half, driven by increased passenger numbers, was impacted by downward pressure on yield leading to lower overall revenue growth reflecting a continuation of the same adverse factors reported in the first half.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, said, “These results see flydubai report its fifth consecutive full-year of profitability. In 2012, our third year of operation, we carried 5.1 million passengers. This year, we have carried 10.4 million passengers demonstrating that flydubai continues to help change the way both business and leisure passenger’s travel around the region. An established tourism destination and global centre for business together with the UAE’s geographic location has supported the need for increased connectivity.”
Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said, “Over the last two years we have seen passenger traffic grow cumulatively by 52% in terms of revenue passenger kilometres. We continue to demonstrate that we gain loyal customers across our network who recognise the benefits of direct air links and enjoy our onboard offerings.
”The continuation of mainly lower fuel prices and ongoing cost management efforts are reflected in the 16% improvement in terms of available seat kilometres over the last two years. We have, however, seen a difficult pricing and operating environment.”
The results showed that fuel costs were 25% of operating costs compared to 30.6% in the previous year, against a backdrop of lower fuel prices for the year, with legacy fuel hedges impacting only 21% of the volume for full year 2016.
The growth in the number of flydubai’s business class passengers continued and saw the airline carry 2.4 times the number of passengers as in 2014. The Subcontinent saw the strongest demand for business class, carrying more than double the number of passengers. This was followed by the Caucasus which grew by 88% as a result of a liberalisation of visa rules creating increased demand from both inbound and outbound traffic flows. In addition, business class passengers grew 38% on Europe and 24% GCC and Middle East sectors.
During the year, increased flight frequency on existing routes and a maturing in the performance of the 41 new routes launched in 2014 and 2015 saw available seat kilometers grow by 9%.
Flights to Bangkok, launched in November, became the first of its routes outside of the GCC to begin operations with a double daily service.