Flydubai narrows H1 loss but warns of pressure from MAX grounding

A Boeing 737 MAX aircraft bearing the logo of Flydubai is parked at a Boeing production facility in Washington. (Reuters/File)
Updated 01 October 2019

Flydubai narrows H1 loss but warns of pressure from MAX grounding

  • Flydubai is one of the world’s biggest MAX customers with 14 planes from an order of 250

DUBAI: Flydubai warned on Monday of significant financial pressure from the unprecedented grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX as it reported a 196.7 million dirhams ($53.6 million) first-half loss.

The Dubai state-owned airline, one of the world’s biggest MAX customers with 14 planes from an order of 250, said it expected its fleet to shrink this year as it was unable to replace older aircraft.

Flydubai has largely stood by Boeing, which is facing one of the worst crises in its history, though the airline’s chairman said in April it could order jets from rival Airbus as replacements.

“We are in ongoing discussions with Boeing, as our long-standing partner, to resolve the unprecedented nature of this grounding and the significant impact it has had on our business and growth strategy,” CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith said in a statement.

The airline expects to have a fleet of 43 aircraft by the end of the year, fewer than the 62 it thought it would have prior to the grounding. Boeing’s top-selling jet was grounded worldwide in March following two fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people within a span of five months.

Flydubai’s first-half loss was narrower than the 316.8 million dirhams it lost a year earlier, while the number of passengers carried was down 7.5 percent to 5 million.

The airline had previously said it expected to return to profitability this year after losing 160 million dirhams in 2018.

A cost efficiency program introduced at the start of the year had offset some of the impact of the MAX grounding, although it would not be able to fully cover it, it said.

“If the grounding continues until the end of the year, we expect our performance to continue to be impacted,” Ghaith said.

Flydubai said it had seen strong demand on its network at the start of the year.


Apple to launch first online store in India next week

Updated 18 September 2020

Apple to launch first online store in India next week

  • The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country
  • India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years

NEW DELHI: Apple announced Friday that it will launch its first online store in India next week, as it seeks to increase sales in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets.
The company at present uses third-party online and offline retailers to sell its products in the country.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that the company “can’t wait to connect with our customers and expand support in India.”
The Sept. 23 launch comes ahead of India’s major Hindu festival season beginning next month.
With a nearly 1.4 billion people, including millions of new Internet users every month, India has become a key focus of tech giants over the last few years.
In August, three contract manufacturers for Apple iPhones and South Korea’s Samsung applied for large-scale electronics manufacturing rights in India under a $6.5 billion incentive scheme announced by the government.
Apple assembles some smartphones at Foxconn and Wistron’s plants in two southern Indian states.