Just a week after Etihad Airways and Air Arabia announced a tie-up to create a new budget carrier based in Abu Dhabi, there’s yet another new airline slated to join the country’s crowded skies. This time, Indian low-cost carrier Spicejet has revealed plans to create a new base and eventually develop a new airline at Ras al Khaimah airport, 45-minutes drive from Dubai.
Spicejet and airport officials signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday with plans for the airline to start flying between RAK and New Dehli five times per week starting in December. The frequency will then be gradually increased if things go to plan.
The chairman of Spicejet, Ajay Singh said the airline would initially base between four and five Boeing 737MAX at RAK airport – dependent on when the aircraft is cleared to fly again by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the UAE’s civil aviation authorities. Singh also said that the airline had already applied for a licence for the new as yet to be named airline.
“We are looking to establish an airline locally based in Ras Al Khaimah. We are applying for certification shortly and the approval will take around three to six months,” he explained.
“The new airline will help connect India with Eastern and Western European destination using RAK as a hub.”
India has consistently proven to be the top destination for inbound traffic into the United Arab Emirates.
At present Ras Al Khaimah airport is only served by a handful of airlines with UAE-based budget carrier flying from the airport to several destinations in the region and the likes of Air India Express and Ural Airlines serving Calicut and Moscow respectively.
“We continue to develop an extensive portfolio of destinations and airlines for our passengers as we perceive a consistently developing demand for visitors and tourists coming to Ras al Khaimah,” Sanjay Khanna, the chief executive of RAK airport was quoted as saying by the Khaleej Times.
Last week, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia announced a new partnership to create an airline called Air Arabia Abu Dhabi. The new carrier will be Abu Dhabi’s first budget airline but no official launch date as yet been given.
Once both Air Arabia Abu Dhabi and Spicejet’s new venture start operations, the UAE will be served by six different airlines.