In July 2008, the government of Dubai established the airline. Although flydubai is not part of The Emirates Group, Emirates supported flydubai during the initial establishing phase. On 14 July 2008 flydubai signed a firm order with American aircraft manufacturer Boeing at the Farnborough Air Show for 50 Boeing 737-800s with a total value of US$3.74 billion, with the option to change the order to the larger and longer range Boeing 737-900ER, according to the airline's demand.
The first of these aircraft was delivered on 17 May 2009. Scheduled flights commenced on 1 June, with services to Beirut, Lebanon and Amman, Jordan. Since then, the route network has been significantly expanded.
On 13 February 2013, flydubai announced that it was in talks with Boeing and Airbus for a 50-aircraft order. On 19 June 2013, the airline announced that it would be adding Business Class service to its flights. The Business class cabin would feature 12 seats between aisle and window, three-course meals, 12-inch televisions, a business class lounge, Italian leather seats to its offering in a bid to cater to business travellers in the emirate, access to more than 200 films, and power outlets suitable for plugs from over 170 countries.
The company was formed on 19 March 2008 as a venture by the Government of Dubai. The Government of Dubai also owns Emirates Airlines; however, the common ownership is the only connection between the two airlines. Even though the airline did get some help from its sister airline initially, it has been run independently since. Also, there was an initial move of executives, but the major bulk of the hiring comes from outside the Emirates group.
The CEO of the company is Ghaith Al-Ghaith, who spent over 22 years with Emirates. The chair of the company is Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is also the chairman of the Emirates group.
flydubai operates entirely out of Dubai and currently has its headquarters in Terminal 2 at Dubai International Airport. Initially, flydubai had intentions to operate from the new Al-Maktoum International Airport in the Dubai World Centre in Jebel Ali.
The key trends for flydubai over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):
As of May 2015, flydubai serves a total of 94 destinations. The airline does not try to poach customers from its sister airline Emirates and aims to serve destinations on new routes that previously did not exist, linking Dubai with the home country of guest workers and low cost travel destinations.
The airline currently has one hub and operates out of Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport. However, to accommodate for the growing airline and the expansion of the national airline at DXB, flydubai began to operate flights out of Al-Maktoum International (DWC) from 25 October 2015. The airline began with 70 flights per week to Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Doha, Kathmandu, Kuwait and Muscat from DWC.
At the Farnborough Air Show in July 2008, the airline ordered 50 Boeing 737-800s valued at approximately US$3.74 billion with substitution rights to convert its 737-800 orders to 737-900ERs (extended range) in the future.
In November 2010, flydubai agreed a sale and leaseback deal with Avolon on another four 737-800s.
On 17 November 2013 at the Dubai Airshow, Boeing and flydubai announced a commitment for about 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 11 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft. This commitment was valued at about US$11.4 billion at list prices, making it the largest ever Boeing single-aisle airliner purchase in the Middle-East.
On 6 January 2014, flydubai finalised its Boeing 737 MAX order. The order was finalised with an order for 75 Boeing 737 MAX 8s and 11 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft, along with the purchase rights for 25 more Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This order is valued at US$8.8 billion at list prices.
As of December 2016, the flydubai fleet consists of the following aircraft:
The airline began in 2009 and has maintained a uniform livery on its fleet. The livery has the company website "flydubai.com" printed on the front. The airline has not issued any special livery design yet.
The flydubai safety video features characters from the computer-animated Emirati television series Freej. The central character in the video is a flight attendant named Maya.
Full meal service is provided on flights to Bangkok, Prague, Bratislava, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Sofia, Zagreb & on the eastern African flights to Zanzibar, Dar es-Salaam, Entebbe, Kigali, Bujumbura and Juba. Alcoholic beverages and additional snacks can be purchased after main service has finished.
On other flights within the network, passengers can pre-book a hot meal, and on flights over 3 hours and on shorter flights, a full menu of wraps and sandwiches is available. Purchases can be made from the crew or from the personal touch screens in each seat.
Duty-free goods are sold on board, and the selection changes every season.
In June 2012 it was announced that business class would be added as a service. As of June 2015 85 of flydubai's destinations have the business class service. Each business class equipped aircraft contains 12 seats with a seat pitch of 42 inches. Along with a wider seat, on board the airline offers services such as: a choice of snacks, meals and drinks; access to more than 200 films, a power outlet, blankets and pillows and noise-cancelling headphones. The Business Class services also extend at selected airports. At selected airports they offer priority check-in and fast track through security checks.
On 6 July 2014, flydubai announced the opening of their business lounge at Dubai International Airport. The lounge is located in Terminal 2 and has a free Wi-Fi, Refreshments and Snacks.
flydubai passengers can transfer their baggage to connecting Emirates and Flydubai flights when checking-in.On 26 January 2015, a Flydubai Boeing 737-800 operating flight 215 from Dubai to Baghdad, was hit by small arms fire on approach to Baghdad International Airport with 154 passengers on board. The aircraft landed safely and no medical attention was needed at the airport.
On 19 March 2016, Flydubai Flight 981, a Boeing 737-800 operating from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don in Russia, crashed during a go-around in inclement weather at Rostov-on-Don Airport. All 55 passengers and 7 crew on board died in the accident. It was the first fatal accident in the airline's history. The cause is currently under investigation.