Flydubai celebrates 10 years of bringing people together across Africa George Tah 12th July 2019 African Business News Dubai-based carrier celebrates carrying more than 70 million passengers since its start of operations in 2009. More than five million passengers were flown on its African routes; flydubai passenger traffic between the UAE and its African routes grew by 108% since 2015. Ten years ago, flydubai’s first flight took off from Dubai International bound for Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport, on 01 June 2009, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of aviation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A week later on 09 June 2009, flydubai marked the start of operations to its first point in Africa, Alexandria. Today the Dubai-based carrier has built a network of 12 points in Africa, most of which had been underserved with very few or no direct air links to the UAE. Commenting on the 10th anniversary of the start of flydubai’s operations, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, said: “flydubai was launched with a mandate to open new markets and make travel more accessible to more people. I am happy to see flydubai deliver on that commitment which has seen the airline connect 71 previously underserved cities to Dubai allowing a population of 1.5 billion easier access to one of the world’s leading aviation hubs.” “Celebrating flydubai’s 10th anniversary, I am pleased to see the airline become another Dubai success story and look forward to their continued success in the years to come. I want to thank all those who have worked tremendously hard to enable the airline to deliver this wonderful team effort,” added Sheikh Ahmed. Reflecting on the last ten years and looking to the years ahead, Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, said: “flydubai’s commitment to making travel more convenient and more affordable has only grown stronger over the past ten years. We realised early on that travel is about bridging the distance between people, and we will continue to change the way people travel around the region. We are pleased to see that more than 70 million passengers chose to flydubai since the start of our operations.” flydubai Entebbe 2014 “It is the vision of our leadership and the continued investment in the country’s infrastructure that has enabled the airline to grow the demand for travel. We have remained agile, committed to efficiency and delivered reliable services keeping our customers at the heart of our operations. This would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all our employees. I thank them and our passengers for being part of our journey and look forward to many more years to come as we mark our 10th anniversary celebrating bringing people together,” added Al Ghaith. Flydubai has grown its operations from six aircraft operating out of Terminal 2 at Dubai International (DXB) in 2009, to serving more than 1,500 weekly flights from its home base in Terminal 2 with flights to select destinations operating out of Terminal 3 (DXB). Since commencing operations, flydubai has created a network of more than 90 destinations in 47 countries across Africa (12 points), Central Asia and the Caucasus (10 points), Europe (28 points), the GCC and the Middle East (26 points) and the Indian Subcontinent (18 points). flydubai carried 3.58 million passengers on its African routes between 2014 and 2019, more than double the number of passengers carried for the same duration between 2009 and 2014 (1.72 million). The fast-growing economies of the countries of Africa are important trading markets for the UAE, and their increasing prosperity will ensure that their contribution of visitor numbers to Dubai will similarly grow strongly. Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (UAE, GCC, Indian Subcontinent and Africa) at flydubai, said: “Africa is an important market for flydubai, and we are delighted that 5.3 million passengers have chosen to flydubai from our network in Africa since the airline’s launch in 2009. We continue to see strong demand for direct airlinks and last year flydubai contributed 13% of the total growth at Dubai Airports for the African market. Over the last 10 years, I am pleased to have seen our network in Africa grow to 12 destinations in 09 countries. Our passengers recognise the benefits of our service from Dubai’s aviation hub to a number of the largest countries in Africa, including access to increased connectivity.” In under ten years, flydubai has grown an extensive network across Africa and currently offers flights to Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Khartoum and Port Sudan as well as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. There have been several milestones since flydubai’s inception in 2009: from introducing Inflight Entertainment in 2010 to Business Class in 2013, placing three aircraft orders and most recently announcing an extensive codeshare partnership with Emirates.