The Dubai government owned airline, FlyDubai, says it won’t consider resuming normal scheduled passenger flights “until the time is right”. According to the airline’s chief operations officer. Hamad Obaidalla however, acknowledged that the decision may have a serious impact on the livelihoods of the airline’s employees.
“We acknowledge the challenges we are all facing in dealing with this pandemic and the impact it will have not only on our industry but also on our livelihood and how we do things moving forward,” Obaidalla stated.
So far, the airline has operated 23 rescue flights to eight countries including Afghanistan, Croatia, Egypt, Iran, Russia, Sudan, Somaliland and Thailand. flydubai says at least 10 more repatriation flights are in the works and are due to take place over the next week. Stranded Emirati citizens will be allowed to travel back to Dubai free of charge.
The airline is also deploying a fleet of six Boeing 737-800 aircraft for all cargo operations. flydubai recently won approval from the General Civil Aviation Authority to also use the passenger cabin for cargo as well the normal belly hold. Like many airlines, flydubai has seen a strong demand for cargo, especially for vital medical supplies.
flydubai was already facing difficulties from the grounding of its Boeing 737MAX fleet but announced a surprise return to profitability in its full-year results, posting a $53.9 million profit. The airline said its financial results were boosted by an undisclosed compensation payout from aircraft manufacturer Boeing because of the 737MAX debacle.