Bumpy start for Flydubai

Eighteen hour delay on inaugural flight
Flydubai has become the first low cost Middle East airline to operate all year round scheduled flights to the EX-YU region. However, its inaugural Dubai - Belgrade - Dubai service last Thursday was delayed by more than eighteen hours and shorter delays to the flights have ensued ever since.

Last Thursday, as the low cost airline launched flights from Dubai to Belgrade, its Boeing 737-800 jet was forced to land in Sofia due to fog in Belgrade causing the flight to be delayed by a few hours. There were few passengers on the outbound service, however, some 160 passengers, which included members of the press and officials, were waiting to board the flight in Belgrade. As boarding was about to begin, Eurocontrol from Brussels issued an order for the flight to be delayed further still. The new delay pushed the crew beyond their legal working hours and the flight was rescheduled for tomorrow morning. The service eventually took off from Belgrade, although still with an hour delay on its new rescheduled departure time. Passengers have criticised the airline for having to wait for hours at the gate, however, Flydubai has issued a public statement saying, “This was a very unfortunate set of circumstances which was beyond our control. Flydubai has an on time performance record of 85%, which is one the best in the industry, and we understand how disappointing delays of this nature are to our customers. Of course this was especially disappointing since it was our first flight to Belgrade”.

The second flight operated by Flydubai saw some 120 passengers board in Belgrade, while yesterday’s service carried 80 passengers. Numbers steadily decrease for each flight thereon. Currently, there are very few passengers on the inbound service. Both of the subsequent flights saw delays, the first by an hour and the second by some fifteen minutes. The no frills airline has invested heavily in a marketing campaign in Belgrade and has managed to get tour operators on its side who are offering Christmas and New Year packages to Dubai, leading the airline to introduce several special flights during the holiday period. Flydubai operates a four weekly service from Dubai to Belgrade. The route is notorious for its extreme seasonality with numbers significantly rising from late November to mid January and again from June to September.

Belgrade Airport operates the CAT IIIb landing system allowing jets to land in heavy fog. However, aircraft must have the necessary equipment to use the landing system.


  1. I think a new / modern 737-800 would have the necessary equipment to operate a Cat 3b landing but pilots also need to be approved to undertake such approaches. Might it be that this is the case? Does Fly Dubai operate to many regions which experience dense fog? Maybe they don't feel the need to have their pilots approved for such landings hence the reason why some aircraft landed at Belgrade and others did not.

  2. Tupolev16012:52

    What was the reason for the Eurocontrol issued delay?
    What did Brussels had to do with Belgrade, Sofia and Dubai?!

    That EU is really putting their nose into everything.

  3. Tupolev16012:58

    "Does Fly Dubai operate to many regions which experience dense fog?"

    Definitely not. I think your assumption is very correct. We can't know for all pilots but those involved on that flight certainly didn't passed the required training.

  4. @ Tupelov,

    It’s not 'required training' but it is an optional approval let’s say, but must be kept current by conducting such an approach at least once in an x amount of time. It could be 35 days or 90, not too sure for a cat 3b. Many airlines in the world do not require their pilots to have such a rating mainly due to the added cost and that it may hardly be required for the operational environment.

  5. Anonymous14:38

    I don’t understand why they are late every day. Today Fly Dubai was delayed by half an hour from BEG.

  6. Anonymous14:42

    It's a low cost airline, they are always going to have something wrong with them. You pay so cheap to fly with them so obviously you can't expect much.

    Low cost airlines in Australia are exactly the same and I'm sure the rest of the world is the same.

  7. BSL-BEG15:51

    Does the connecting flight from DXB allways has to wait for those coming to late from BEG?

    I'm asking because here in ZRH, we are handling EK and if we have more than 3 min technical delay, than we have to write a report.

  8. VisitBengaluru!16:31

    People should not overreact !
    Flydubai flights are a good alternative to all the rest of options ...
    but it needs time to become profitable now.

    With their bad start Flydubai has to win back a lot of respect by their customer base ..and that is alot of people !
    Dont forget that Flydubai was founded for maximum 4and half hour flights ....!
    But Emirates send them to test the
    grounds there in Belgrade !

    Its interesting to see but people from Ex Yu are even more demanding
    and price and service sensible
    then people from Western countries !But flydubai can deliver...
    they are the most value for money
    airline that exist !
    A lot of people in India prefer them before all the others !
    I would always fly them !

  9. Anonymous18:22

    Oh oh oh...!
    Seems that there are a lot of people very amngry now ...
    But in the long term service will improve ....i bet planes are full latest in december.
    Better half hour delay then transfer in crowded IST and missing connection ...
    no reason for being pessimistik...

  10. BSL-BEG18:26

    Has JAT Tehnika a contract with Flydubai in case of technical problems?

  11. When it's about nepotism and corruption they are all the same regardless whether their name is Marko or Mujo. The religious/ethnic differences come into play only when they need votes to get elected. Unfortunately, most of the people living in ex YU are either too stupid or too naive to vote the same crap election after election.

  12. My apologies...my previous post was meant for the Montenegro Airports article. Anyways, good luck to FlyDubai. I hope that JAT returns as well and we see this route growing for both.

  13. Anonymous21:02

    It was rather bad luck that such huge fog happened in Belgrade on the day of their inaugural flight and understandable passengers got angry. But I am sure, they will fix it and route could prove very successful.
    They offer good connections and competitive prices, not only to Australia but to SE Asia as well if you book ticket with Emirates for CMB, SIN, HKG, BKK, etc...Just checked on edreams, not bad at all. I think they will hit TK pretty hard on some routes out of BEG.


    Wow..what a fuzz ,people!

    That Flydubai is a million more times betta than expected!

    Flew with them saturday.

    Okay...it was not on time.
    Who cares!

    Always hated the stops in Cyprus..
    happy to avoid stops at all!

    Everyone talking rubbish...you are insane people!

  15. Anonymous01:18

    Hehehe...the serbs have no money to afford low cost?
    Even for that they are to poor!

  16. Anonymous03:46

    @anonymous 1.18
    That is why FLYDUBAi picked BEG as EX-YU destination and not some other town...and yes, you are welcome to come from your small place and connect through Belgrade! See you!

  17. Anonymous05:41

    Just to be clear... delays from Belgrade are due to delays in arrival, so inbound flights are lite for aprox. 1 hour, that`s why flights from Belgrade are delayed for 15-20 minutes. Normally, there is a turnaround time for every plane.

  18. VisitBengaluru!23:28

    Dear Admin !
    You deleted my comment/comments (?) from wednesday although i behaved in a cautious manner !

    Maybe the topic was very controverse
    -i forgot now what it was ?!

    I clearly have not offended
    anyone !
    Maybe my English is bad ?!


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