In Conversation With Sudhir Sreedharan, Sr. VP Commercial Ops, FlyDubai – India, GCC & Africa
FlyDubai's new Boeing 737 Max 8. (Image: FlyDubai)
Dubai is one of the hottest destinations for Indians – both looking for earning opportunities and those looking for recreational place. Aircraft carriers from both the sides – India and Dubai are well aware of this fact and work hard at providing good connectivity across the two nations. One such Dubai based company is FlyDubai, which is working round-the-clock to provide easy connectivity and enhanced experience to the flyers. FlyDubai recently inducted the new Boeing 737 Max 8 to its fleet, making it the 1st company in the Middle East to have this plane.
We got in touch with Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, FlyDubai – India, GCC & Africa on the sideline of the 2017 Dubai Airshow to know more about the company, its operations and their newest addition to the fleet – the Boeing 737 Max 8. Here’s an excerpt-
News18 – Why the new Boeing 737 Max 8?
S. Shreedharan - We are launching our new product, which is the 737 800 Max. It takes into a whole new portrayal of what we believe our customers need in the future. We believe that this machine, besides the comfort, also gives us the advantage of showing that we keep the latest machines in the air, which are more economical, which gives us more savings per seat and ensure that the average age of the machines in our fleet continues to offer the best range in time.
News18 – What benefits do the flyers get from the Boeing 737 Max 8?
S. Shreedharan - The aircraft has 10 flatbeds in business class and 150 seats in economy. The aircraft is more comfortable. The screens in business class and economy class are wider. The seats give more legroom space in economy. In business class we have full flatbeds, which is first of its kind in this part of the world for a hybrid carrier.
News18 – How do you see India as a market for FlyDubai
S. Shreedharan - We fly to 8 cities in India. We have 30 flights in a week. The cities are Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi, Trivandrum and Lucknow. It’s a no brainer when it comes to India – the market is booming, it’s one of the fastest growing economies in the 3-4 hour radius of Dubai. Our flights and seat factor on all Indian carriers and the Dubai based carriers is a testimony to the demand that India produces.
News18 – What operational challenges are you facing in India?
S. Shreedharan - We are only limited by the fact that we don’t have seats. The current allocation between the two countries – between Dubai and India is exhausted and we desperately feel that the need of seats from both the sides is critical and we that the Indian government will look into this and there will be gradual enhancements of seats.
News18 – What are the expansion plans in India?
S. Shreedharan - We are happy to operate at any of the airports in India, which the government allows and we hope that the Indian government increases the number of points of call that are currently allotted to Dubai based carriers. As I said, if we have the right frequencies and right coverage to the point of call, then we don’t think filling up any kind of seat is a problem in India.
News18 – Tell us about the FlyDubai’s international reach.
S. Shreedharan - We fly to over 90 cities across 44 countries and by the end of this year, we will have 61 missions.
News18 – How do you see Dubai as a tourism hub for Indians?
S. Shreedharan - Dubai is booming. The popularity of the city is booming. The current initiative by the government of Dubai to open up visas for the various nationalities, including countries like Russia and the recent initiative to open up visas for Indian nationals, who have the U.S visa is a bold move and I see nothing restricting us from ensuring more and more tourist fly to in the future.