flydubai, Dubai’s innovative airline, today underscored the growing importance of the CIS region to its operations by announcing it will double its network in Russia to eight points and add additional services in Ukraine.
In Russia, the carrier will launch flights to Mineralnye Vody on 16 April 2013 followed by Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd on 13 September 2013. Operations to Krasnodar, meanwhile, will commence a week later on 20 September 2013. flydubai offers the only year-round direct scheduled services to these cities, which are all located in South West Russia.
The route map in Ukraine, meanwhile, will also expand to include the only direct services from Dubai to the Black Sea resort of Odessa as well as Dnepropetrovsk in the east of the country. Flights to Odessa will begin on 15 September 2013, the same day the carrier adds capacity to the capital, Kiev, to which it will fly double daily. Services to Dnepropetrovsk will begin on 18 September 2013.
These additional operations bring flydubai’s network to 18 points in the CIS region – more than any other Middle East carrier.
Speaking at a press conference held during the annual Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT), flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “Russia and Ukraine are two of flydubai’s key markets. We have seen steady passenger growth over the past couple of years in both countries. Not only is Dubai a popular destination, but we are seeing more and more passengers connecting on to flydubai’s services to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Our strategy of targeting regional airports has been a significant factor in our growth in the region and with the announcements of these six new routes today, a greater number of people will be able to visit the UAE and beyond with our affordable direct flights.”
flydubai has already announced six new routes this year in addition today’s six, increasing its network to more than 60 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Asia, CIS and Central & Eastern Europe.
Since flydubai started flights to Russia in October 2010, it has seen phenomenal growth. In 2012, the airline carried 73% more passengers than the previous 12 months on its existing four routes to Kazan, Samara Ufa and Yekaterinburg. There was also an 86% increase in flights over the same period. Kazan, meanwhile, experienced the highest growth with 622% more flights and a 561% rise in passengers last year compared to 2011.
September is a popular month in the CIS for flydubai. Not only will most of the new destinations begin in September 2013, but it also marks the anniversary of operations to the carrier’s existing Ukraine destinations of Kiev, Kharkiv and Donetsk, as well as Kazan and Ufa in Russia.
In the 18 months flydubai has operated flights to Ukraine, the airline’s passengers have increased 348%. Of the combined traffic from Kiev, Kharkiv and Donetsk, 19% of people connect to Colombo via flydubai’s hub in Dubai.
Krasnodar, Rostov-on Don and Volgograd are located in the Southern Federal District of Russia. While Krasnodor is a key economic and tourist centre, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd are important trading cities due to their positions on or close to waterways. Mineralnye Vody, meanwhile, lies in the North Caucasian Federal District and is well known in the region for its mineral waters and health spas.
Odessa, often referred to as “The Pearl of the Black Sea”, is a popular holiday resort, thanks to its mix of beaches, scenic old town and the 200-step Potemkin Stairs, which serve as the gateway to the city from the sea. Dnepropetrovsk, meanwhile, is Ukraine’s fourth largest city and a key industrial area.