Flydubai’s growth is being compromised because of the ongoing Boeing 737 Max grounding, but Airbus is unlikely to be able to meet the demand for potential replacements any time soon.
That is according to Emirates’ president Sir Tim Clark, who said during an interview with CNN, that flydubai has 14 Max planes grounded but has got 140 on order, which has “compromised growth”.
Boeing’s Max has been grounded since March following two fatal crashes and means many airlines are operating without a portion of their fleet.
Clark said in the interview: “For instance by now, [flydubai] should have about 65 aircraft flying – it has 42 or 45. And over the course of this summer, it is being severely impacted by the absence of those aircraft. It has had to extend leases, extend aircraft and all.”
In the first half of 2019 flydubai did manage to reduce its losses by 38% down to $54 million and revenues were steady at $759 million. CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said earlier this month that if the Max grounding continues until the end of the year, “we expect our performance to continue to be impacted”.
Although Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he was hoping the Max would be cleared for service before the end of the year, Clark said he thinks it unlikely that the plane will be allowed to fly commercially again before the first quarter of 2020.
He said that the ongoing Max troubles will be “a real disruptor to Boeing”.
“I think they will re-examine themselves, that’s what they should be doing, turning themselves inside out to make sure that everybody is on the message that they always use to produce these excellent machines.”
Despite Boeing’s ongoing struggle with the Max, which has seen profits significantly dented, Clark thinks that it is unrealistic that competitor Airbus will be able to come to the rescue of those airlines with part of their fleets grounded.
“The reality is that the opposition, the competitor (Airbus), cannot meet the obligations – the requirements rather, of the airlines that had the Max on order. So, for Airbus to crank up manufacturing plants to produce the Max cancellations is probably not going to be feasible.”
Clark said that Airbus and Boeing each had approximately 6,000 various backlogs of aircraft on order.