Share story

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Budget carrier flydubai said Wednesday its earnings and profits have increased, with revenue reaching 5.5 billion dirhams ($1.5 billion) in 2017 compared to 5 billion dirhams ($1.37 billion) in 2016.

Profits for the Dubai-based airline reached 37.3 million dirhams ($10 million) last year, up from 31.6 million dirhams ($8.6 million) the year before. However, flydubai’s profits are still less than half the 100.7 million dirham-mark ($27.4 million) recorded in 2015.

The company said fuel costs represented a quarter of total operating costs in 2017.

“The oil price continues to shape the businsess landscape and it remains a fine balance between fares, yields and passenger growth,” said flydubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith.

In its statement Wednesday, the airline said: “Although the operational climate has remained challenging, flydubai is cautiously optimistic about 2018.” The company said it will launch 10 new routes in the first half of 2018 and take delivery of seven new aircraft this year.

In November, flydubai and Boeing Co. announced a $27 billion deal for 225 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft. The carrier said the planes would bring its total fleet on order up to 320.

The carrier is also aggressively expanding its passenger numbers, carrying 10.9 million passengers — a record number for the airline— last year.

Its passenger numbers from Russia increased by 44 percent in 2017. This comes after the airline suffered its worst accident in March 2016 when a Boeing 737-800 flown by flydubai crashed while landing at Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia, killing all 62 people aboard.

The low-cost carrier has operations out of both of Dubai’s airports, including Dubai International Airport, which is ranked the world’s busiest for international travel. Flydubai also has code-share flights with Dubai’s flagship Emirates Airline. The two airlines operate independently, but are both state-owned.