Flydubai is breaking with the single class high density cabin model for low cost carriers in its early years and will inaugurate a business class cabin starting this October.
With JetBlue opting for a premium offering in the same month on its transcontinental A321s, and Spirit already offering ‘big seats up front’ across its ultra low fare network in the US and nearer Latin America, the question is who might be next?
In Europe the conjecture sometimes includes easyJet. Here such a move has long been expected by Jetstar in some quarters where it is seen as a future hybrid domestic carrier, stalking parent Qantas.
Jetstar like AirAsia, already offers two classes in its existing A330 wide body fleet and its forthcoming transition to 787 Dreamliners.
The Flydubai plans for business class are reported in detail in this article in Gulf Business.
The Dubai low fare carrier started flying in June 2009 and recently reported its first profit. Based in Terminal 2 at Dubai’s main airport, it is easy to consider it as the second brand or Jetstar proxy for Emirates, however it is not part of the Emirates Group, even though it has the same owners.
It has 30 Boeing 737-800s in service and a further 20 due by 2016.
Flydubai and Emirates recently began offering combined or single ticket itineraries covering selected parts of their respectively regional and global networks, making the comparison to the Qantas-Jetstar relationship more compelling, if technically incorrect.
However Flydubai has gone further than Jetstar with its one class A320s, offering from October a full service business class product rather than an abrupt down trade in gauge for premium travellers changing from Emirates flights to its 737-800s.
Although as tight as it comes in economy class, Flydubai already offers a higher level of cabin service than either Jetstar or Ryanair in their single aisle jets.
Given the strong position of Emirates in the Qantas business partnership how soon might Jetstar perhaps shift across all or part of its single aisle franchise in Australia and Asia to the Flydubai format?