In another sign that Emirates offshoot Flydubai intends to be its own airline, the Dubai-based low-cost start-up has created an in-house maintenance operation.
Established by the Dubai government and launching services in mid-2009, the Boeing 737-800 operator has been slowly forming its own operational infrastructure, separate from its bigger sister. Based at Dubai International's budget Terminal 2, it has taken delivery of 16 of 54 737-800s, flying mostly routes to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and central Asia.
The investment of $20 million in the new maintenance division means Flydubai will now carry out all its maintenance in-house rather than relying on Emirates Engineering. Chief executive Ghaith Al Ghaith says the move is an "example of our growing maturity as an airline".
Flydubai has recruited more than 75 engineers. Head of maintenance and engineering Mick Hills acknowledges that the project had to be completed quickly. "Many people said we wouldn't be able to do it, but once again Flydubai has proved the doubters wrong," he says. "This has been a huge investment and we have worked hard to ensure we have got it right first time."
Linning up to service Flydubai's 737s