UAE low-cost carrier Flydubai has reported a loss of AED712.6 million ($194 million) for the period ending December 31, 2020, compared with a AED198.2 million ($53.6 million) profit in 2019.
The carrier registered a total annual revenue of AED2.8 billion ($773 million) compared to AED6 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2019; a decrease of 52.7 per cent.
The airline cited the Covid-19 pandemic and the 22-month grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft as the key factors which impacted its 2020 results.
During the course of the year, the airline completed two financing facilities amounting to AED283 million ($77 million) for general corporate purposes, and also carried 3.2 million passengers.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted us more than any other crisis. We fully recognise that it is the priority of governments to ensure the health and wellbeing of its people. The effects of the travel restrictions that were put in place to safeguard against transmission of the virus have heavily impacted the aviation industry,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai.
“The ongoing impact of the grounding of the MAX aircraft required our Engineering and Maintenance Team to put an active aircraft storage programme in place. The resulting 18 hours of maintenance per aircraft each week placed additional demands on their already extensive workload," he said.
Commenting on how flydubai adapted to the changing situation, Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer at flydubai, said: “During the course of last year, we adapted quickly to the changing situation and supported governments with their repatriation efforts helping them to make arrangements for their citizens to return home. We were also conscious of our role to contribute to the easing of the strain on the supply chain. We enabled the movement of essential goods across our network dedicating 11 aircraft for cargo operations at the peak of the pandemic. We redesigned our customer journey and launched our passenger partnership enabling travel in a safe environment. We were ready to launch flights as soon as the airspace opened growing our network to 65 destinations by year end; a considerable achievement in a complex period for the airline industry. We also achieved a seat factor of 73 per cent in spite of these challenges.”
Francois Oberholzer, Chief Financial Officer at flydubai, commenting on the financial measures taken by the airline, said: “During a demanding year for the aviation industry, we optimised all possible revenue generating opportunities and we took early measures to control our costs and preserve liquidity. We redoubled our efforts in cost improvement, deferred capital expenditure and raised new financing facilities. The proactive steps we took at the start of the pandemic enabled the airline to end the year with cash assets, including pre-delivery payments, of AED2.5 billion ($680.4 million).” - TradeArabia News Service