Business class on a budget
Dubai's low-cost airline begins selling Business Class tickets
August 18, 2013 6:59 by kippreport
Flydubai has announced that its business class tickets are now on sale, with the first premium flight taking off in the second week of October. In the coming months, the Dubai-based low-budget airline says that it plans to continue adding more business class routes across its network.
Flydubai first made the announcement two months ago in June and received its first aircraft with business class seats earlier this month, which have been used for training and testing since then. The airline says that all new aircrafts will be delivered with built-in economy and business class seats and amenities, while existing aircrafts will be ‘retrofitted’ to include this premium option.
Flydubai’s chief executive officer, Ghaith Al Ghaith, says he’s “tremendously excited” to be offering the business class experience, particularly on routes “that have never had this option before with other airlines”, such as Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Donetsk in Ukraine and Juba in South Sudan.
The carrier’s first business class flight will be flight FZ729 from Dubai to Kiev, departing at 00:05 on October 8, 2013. Other routes include Malé, Istanbul, Mineralnye Vody and Bucharest.
According to a statement by the airline, the business class offering includes a “comfortable spacious seat and a generous checked baggage allowance”, along with a priority check-in service and dedicated 24-hour customer service team.
Since the young airline launched four years ago, Al Ghaith says it has been committed to expanding the range of services on offer. Last month, it began operating flights to Madinah, Saudi Arabia, on July 25, making it its 65th destination for the airline and 15th addition this year.
The airline adds: “We have provided easier access for our passengers to 44 previously underserved markets, creating free flows of trade and tourism, to support Dubai’s economic development.”
Analysts might argue that, while it is not unheard of for low-cost carriers to offer business class benefits or venture into the premium sector, the move could still be considered as risky; particularly, when you have the three Gulf giants – Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways – to compete with.
However, since airlines like Air Asia, UK’s Easyjet and Virgin Australia have all ventured into premium services – from flexibility on tickets to priority boarding for passengers – one could say that the move is not without precedent.
Al Ghaith has repeatedly said that the airline’s decision to introduce business class flights was based on customer requests and if there is a market gap to be filled, why shouldn’t they be the ones to fill it?