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BTN investigates: flydubai adds new aircraft as Dubai World Central operations take-off

New passenger services will be operated by flydubai from Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central from October 2015, at the start of their winter schedule.

This will coincide with the delivery of their 50th Boeing 737-800NG which is the final aircraft from the initial order placed at the Farnborough Airshow in 2008.

Flights operated from DWC by flydubai will include services to Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Doha, Kathmandu, Kuwait and Muscat, for both business and economy passengers, and will be in addition to flights to all those destinations from Dubai International Airport. 

Talking to Breaking Travel News Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive, flydubai, said: “DWC is the new frontier of aviation in the UAE.

“There are very few international cities that do not have more than one airport and Dubai is planning to build the world’s largest airport.

“The start of our new operations at DWC provides further opportunities for growth for flydubai as we take delivery of more than 100 new Boeing aircraft by 2023. 

“We will continue to play an important role in the future of aviation in the UAE.”

In a planned approach flydubai will progressively grow its operations at DWC over the next few years. 

In addition, flydubai Cargo will be available offering a range of transport solutions.

Looking ahead at the opportunity the scale of the plans for DWC presents Al Ghaith said: “We see this as the first step to increase opportunities for travel across Dubai.

“With the delivery of eight new aircraft each year for the next few years and as we prepare for the first delivery of the new model Boeing 737 MAX we remain focussed on supporting travel, trade and tourism by enhancing connectivity from Dubai’s two airports.”

On the subject of new aircraft Ken Gile, chief operating officer, flydubai recently spoke to Phil Blizzard alongside their 49th aircraft on the production line at Boeing’s factory at Renton Seattle.

When asked how felt being alongside their latest ‘baby’ he said: “This is very exciting.

“In 2008 we had the idea for flydubai and put in an order for 50 aircraft and in just seven years we have received nearly all of them.

“We started flying on June 1st, 2009 and now look forward to carrying passengers on this aircraft from this July onwards, but before that it will go to Amman in Jordan to be fitted with the interiors.”

At day eight into its journey along the Renton production line the latest flydubai Boeing 737-800 was just two days from being rolled out and prepared for flight, reported Phil Blizzard from Seattle.

In what could be described as a factory of giant model aircraft kits there are enough pieces to supply the demand of the most ardent model maker.

This gigantic structure is a temporary home to numerous Boeing 737’s in various stages of assembly - all lined up, as if to taxi to a runway, and almost ready for take-off.

Down on the shop floor, inside the cavernous production facility, I was dwarfed by the fuselage of aircraft LN 5465 - the latest for flydubai. 

Still wrapped in protective green coating the 737-800 NGs are built on a slow, but continuously moving, assembly line.

This method of production is referred to as ‘Pulse line manufacturing’ according to Marty Bentrott, vice president, international sales, Boeing.

He explained: “The pulse line is very efficient, we are in fact building 42 737s per month using this production method.

“When I was here in the mid-90s we were building just 24 aeroplanes per month and we were talking about going to 30 which then was just unheard of!

“People didn’t believe we could do it, and now we are assembling 42 a month.

“In 2017 we plan to complete 47 a month and in 2018, based on market demands, this could rise to 52,” added Bentrott.

The Renton factory is located just a few miles south of Seattle and the final assembly of 737’s began in December 1970 and since then all 737’s have been assembled there.

At the time of construction Renton was the largest building in the world by volume. 

It has, however, been surpassed by the Boeing’s Everett production facility, north of Seattle - which at just over 13 million cubic metres is now the largest building in the world.

The vast number of parts for the 737’s arrive at Renton by road or rail from numerous manufacturing facilities, and suppliers, which are located all across the US.

The Boeing team of engineers, working in a three shift pattern, then assemble the multitude of components, including finished engines, into a complete aircraft in just ten days.

At the time of our visit to Renton, in early June, production of the 737-MAX had begun, on schedule, with employees assembling the wings for the first 737 MAX flight test airplane. 

Talking about the new generation aircraft Bentrott said: “The 737-MAX takes a lot of the lessons and capabilities of the NGs and moves it to the next level.

“Improved aerodynamics and new engines for better fuel efficiency.

“Overall operational efficiency of the aeroplane is going to be about 14-20 per cent better than the NG we are standing beside.”

The first Boeing 737-MAX is expected to enter service in 2017 with launch customer Southwest Airlines.

To date orders for more than 2,700 aircraft have been placed from 57 customers, including 75 for flydubai, who are expecting their first delivery in the last quarter of 2017.

flydubai has just received the aircraft, registration A6-FEY, seen on the production line at Renton, which then went on to Amman in Jordan for the fitting out of the in-flight entertainment system and business class seats.

That was conducted by JorAMCo, a company with more than 50 years of experience, who will also provide the entry into service checks.

flydubai have a further 11 Boeing 737-800s to be manufactured from their 2013 order before commencing deliveries of the fastest selling Boeing 737 of all times - the new Boeing 737-MAX.