February 13, 2013 / 9:31 AM / 7 years ago

Budget carrier flydubai in talks for 50 aircraft order

DUBAI (Reuters) - Budget carrier flydubai, which posted its first full year profit on Wednesday, is in talks with Boeing and Airbus for a 50-plane order, the airline’s chairman said on Wednesday.

Flydubai, the first passenger flight of Dubai's first low cost carrier, is sprayed with water to celebrate its first landing in Beirut international airport June 1, 2009. REUTERS/Sharif Karim

The carrier currently has a fleet of 28 Boeing aircraft.

“We are in talks about another 50 aircraft,” said flydubai Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum who also heads up Emirates airlines , adding talks were ongoing with the two plane manufacturers for the order.

Sheikh Ahmed was speaking at a press conference to unveil flydubai’s annual results. An airline spokeswoman confirmed the comments.

The government-owned airline, which is unlisted, reported a net profit of 151.9 million dirhams for 2012 and a revenue of 2.8 billion dirhams.

A potential deal could be announced at the biannual Dubai Air Show in November, the region’s top aviation event with airlines signing billion-dollar deals. In 2011, Emirates announced a blockbuster $18 billion deal for 50 Boeing 777 jets.

Sheikh Ahmed said on Wednesday it was up to flydubai management to decide which aircraft it would order.

Flydubai’s Chief Executive Ghaith al Ghaith has previously expressed interest in Boeing’s new 737 MAX as well as the fuel-efficient Airbus A320neo.

The carrier, which launched operations in 2009, placed an order for 50 Boeing 737-800 aircraft in 2008, all of which are to be delivered by 2016.

Flydubai, which carried 5.1 million passengers in 2012, flies to 52 destinations, targeting secondary airports within a five hour radius. It competes with airlines including United Arab Emirates-based Air Arabia AIRA.DU and Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways (JAZK.KW).

Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Amran Abocar

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