Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dubai’s budget carrier to fly to India

Flydubai, Dubai’s first budget carrier, is scheduled for take-off to five Indian destinations - Pune, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jaipur and Goa in the second quarter of this year, a media report said today.

The flights, however, will depend on the availability of aircraft, as the airline has not received any of its aircraft so far, Dubai’s Business 24/7 newspaper said.

“No aircraft has arrived yet but we are on schedule to launch the airline,” chief executive Ghaith al Ghaith told the newspaper, adding, “We will soon be making an announcement about the airline’s launch. All I can say for now is it is on track.”

The budget carrier, assisted in its initial stages by Emirates, has 54 Boeing 737-800s on order, worth $4 billion. It ordered 50 planes from Boeing and four from leasing company -- Babcock and Brown -- during the Farnborough International Airshow in July last year.

Boeing’s 58-day strike, which ended in October last year, has raised doubts over delivery delays for Flydubai.

The airline said in November that it was in talks with Boeing to understand the breadth of the delay.

With an aim of serving destinations within four hours of flying distance from Dubai, such as India, Pakistan, Eastern Europe and parts of Africa, flydubai plans to serve about 70 destinations by 2014.