Flydubai, a budget carrier from Dubai, posted a loss of $194 million in 2020 in an announcement on Sunday, a 50% drop in revenues that the company described as one of the aviation industry's toughest years.
The carrier's financial losses reflect how coronavirus pandemic restrictions have pummeled the aviation industry, resulting in the closure of airports, the suspension of flights and the loss of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of aviation jobs.
Flydubai’s net loss of $194 million last year stands in contrast to its profit of $54 million the year before. Revenue slid to $773 million last year compared to $1.6 billion the year before.
The number of flights operated last year by flydubai fell by more than 60%, resulting in a dramatic decrease in passenger numbers, which plummeted to 3.2 million in 2020 compared to 9.6 million in 2019.
In addition to the impact of the pandemic, flydubai said its operations were affected by the nearly two-year-long grounding of its fleet of Boeing Max 737 aircraft. While being operated by other carriers, the aircraft was involved in two crashes that killed 346 people, forcing Boeing to settle dozens of lawsuits filed by families of passengers killed. The U.S.-made aircraft was grounded for 22 months pending regulatory approval.
Flydubai has operations out of both of Dubai’s airports, including Dubai International Airport, which is the world’s busiest for international travel. The low-cost carrier also has code-share flights with Dubai’s flagship Emirates Airline, but the two airlines operate independently.
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