flydubai (FZ, Dubai Int'l) has negotiated the extension of the dry-lease of two B737-800s by two years to 2022 in an effort to cope with the ongoing grounding of the B737 MAX, the carrier said in its half-yearly financial release.

"The airline will continue to explore short to medium-term leasing options including Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance & Insurance (ACMI)," it added. The LCC does not wet-lease any aircraft at this moment.

Despite the extensions, flydubai will still return a further four B737-800s to lessors by the end of 2019, bringing the type's fleet down to 39 units.

"In our tenth anniversary year, we had expected to grow our fleet and continue with our plans to expand our network. Without any deliveries of new aircraft and no visibility of the timelines, we will see our operating fleet reduce in size to what it was in 2014. This is disappointing," Chief Executive Officer Ghaith Al Ghaith said.

flydubai currently has eleven grounded B737-8s and two B737-9s. It also has orders for a further 237 MAX, including sixty-five -8s, fifty B737-10s, and 122 unassigned types.

The airline posted a loss of AED196.7 million dirhams (USD53.6 million) in the first half of 2019. Although the loss is 38% lower than the year before, flydubai said it was disappointed, blaming the grounding of the Boeing narrowbodies.

"Our performance has however been significantly impacted by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and our half-year results are not representative of what we had expected to report; we were expecting a significantly improved performance," Al Ghaith said.