For the past eight years Flydubai and Air Arabia have appeared to enjoy formidable growth by sticking to their own trajectories. Despite the rival carriers being based just a hop from each other at Dubai International and Sharjah airports, their business models and route networks have been sufficiently distinct to ensure both prospered. However, with signs that the Gulf airline market’s unbridled expansion could be slowing, the UAE’s low-cost sector could be poised for a major shake-up. One sign of this was the decision in July to partly merge the operations of Flydubai and its big sister Emirates.
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