Budget carrier flydubai announced record profits on Wednesday, benefitting from a surge in air travel following the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
The state-owned carrier, based in the business and tourism hub of Dubai in the UAE, reported $327 million in profit in 2022, up 43 percent from the previous year. Annual revenue for 2022 was up 72 percent, to $2.5 billion, it said.
“We realized early on the great opportunities that Dubai provides and remained focused and ready to scale up our operations once the demand for travel returned,” Ghaith Al Ghaith, the company’s CEO, said in a statement.
Traffic more than doubled last year at Dubai's airport, the busiest in the world for international travel, but still lags behind a record set in 2019 before the onset of the coronavirus
flydubai said it carried 10.6 million passengers in 2022, up 89 percent from the previous year. The sister airline to long-haul carrier Emirates has also ramped up capacity, with the delivery of 17 new aircraft and the hiring of some 1,300 employees over the past year, it said.
In 2020, flydubai reported losses of $194 million.
Its good performance last year was helped by the nearly 1,300 shuttle flights it made to neighboring Qatar during the football World Cup.
The year ended with a mass airlift of World Cup fans to and from Qatar, with 1,290 flights — up to 30 a day — ferrying 133,000 people of 171 different nationalities, a statement said.
"2022 has been an exceptional year, with accelerated demand, bookended by the final few months of Expo 2020 and the unprecedented efforts to support travel to and from the World Cup in Doha," said Al Ghaith.
"Navigating through challenging times characterized by continued fluctuating fuel prices, disruption to supply chains, rising global inflation and geopolitical unrest did not dampen our strong performance last year," he added.