Flydubai expanding Indian operations; to add 3 new destinations

Flydubai, the low-cost Dubai-based airline is planning to add three more destination in India as more and more Middle East carriers look for increasing share of the Indian market.

Flydubai will start its flights from Dubai to Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Delhi from next month, doubling the number of its destinations in India to six.

From 1 June, the airline will start a four-times-a-week service linking Delhi and Dubai and a thrice weekly service linking Thiruvananthapuram and Dubai on the following day, airline chief executive Gaithal Gaith said today.

From 3 June, the airline will add Kochi to its route network offering thrice weekly flights from Dubai.

Flydubai's is trying to fill the vacuum created by the cutting back of Indian carrier Indigo's Dubai flights because of runway issues at Dubai Airport.

While SpiceJet did not explain the reason for cutting back Dubai flights when there was so much demand on the route, analysts believe that the Indian carrier is not able to face the competition from very cheap airlines flying to India from that part of the world.

Flydubai currently operates nine weekly flights to Lucknow, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad from Dubai.

The announcement of the new flights comes in the wake of India signing a bilateral air services agreement with Dubai recently, which increased the number of flights that airlines from each country can operate on a weekly basis.

Emirates and Flydubai, the two airlines from Dubai allowed by the Dubai government to operate flights to and from India continue to increase seat capacity while Indian carriers Jet, IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India are operating with depleted seat capacity.

Flydubai's move is expected to enhanced competition between the neighbouring emirati of Sharjah from where the low cost airline Air Arabia operates over 100 weekly flights to 13 destinations in India.

The expansion also follows a revision of the bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Dubai recently. Carriers of both countries can now offer upto 10,000 additional seats in a phased manner.

The increase was applicable for both.

Flydubai's move, which is closely watched by Emirates airline, is expected to whip up Gulf competition to Indian carriers.

Emirates is expected to launch services of the Airbus 380 aircraft sometime soon.

Dubai's government-owned Flydubai serves as a low-cost alternative on an already popular routes from Dubai, as well new and underserved destinations, thereby boosting trade and tourism.