Flydubai will use the long range of its new B737 Max 8 aircraft to expand European services.

From April 8, 2018 the carrier will inaugurate nonstop service to Krakow in Southern Poland, and from June 13 Flydubai will connect Dubai with Catania in Sicily.

Full schedule details are unavailable at the time of writing but industry website Airlineroute says that both routes will be operated daily.

Also unconfirmed is whether the B737 Max 8s on these routes will be configured with one or two classes – but the latter seems likely, given the launch of Flydubai’s new fully-flat business class cabin on the airline’s first B737 Max last month.

It is the first time both routes have been linked directly to the Gulf. And as readers will know, it is not just about the Gulf.

Flydubai will be feeding passengers to and from Emirates’ long-haul network out of Dubai to Africa, Asia and Australasia.

In years to come we can expect Flydubai to be operating these two-class narrowbody aircraft to other European destinations as both it and Emirates seek new opportunities.

Service from Krakow will enable Polish travellers to gain global access without the need to depart Warsaw. It will also enable overseas visitors to more easily access this historic city which is one of the most popular visitor destinations in Poland.

Flights into Catania will, in particular, grant overseas travellers easier access to Sicily without the need to make time-consuming transfers in Rome.

Expect to see much more of Boeing’s B737 Max 8 in future. Airlines are taking a liking to this B737 variant (and its Airbus rival the A321LR neo) because they are cheaper to buy and cheaper to operate than the more sophisticated B787 and A350 widebodies (see our feature Narrow Margins).

Airbus’ A321LR neo (in service from 2019) will have more range than its Boeing rival. IAG’s Aer Lingus has purchased a number of these aircraft for transatlantic operations.

Norwegian started transatlantic operations with B737 Max 8 aircraft last summer and Air Canada intends to use them for transatlantic service next year.