SpiceJet, India’s second largest airline and a notable low-cost carrier (LCC), has announced this week that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Airport to commence operations starting December 2019.
In a press release, the airline explained that will operate regular direct flights between Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. The route will be operated five times a week, targeted to gradually increase the frequency.
RAK Airport explains that there is a five-point strategy of this partnership with SpiceJet, right from:
-Connecting passengers embarking from India for various airports in the UAE;
-Connecting Ras Al Khaimah and UAE to cities in India via SpiceJet’s extensive domestic network;
-From India to Europe;
-From UAE to Europe; and
-From Ras Al Khaimah to SpiceJet’s international connecting points like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Afghanistan, Thailand, Hong Kong etc.
Catering to a massive Indian population
RAK Airport’s partnership with an Indian LLC is ideal for the Emirate and overall UAE.
“Apart from the addition of a very vital route, this relationship will serve to be a very strategic one serving the wide Indian diaspora of residents and businesses in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, given the advantage of the extensive flight network of SpiceJet,” Engr. Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Board of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation Ras Al Khaimah, said.
“From our partnership, we not only aim to connect India but also assist SpiceJet to create network hub at Ras Al Khaimah to go further to Europe, meeting the needs of Indian tourist as well as facilitating easy travel solution for tourist arriving to Ras Al Khaimah from Europe,” RAK Airport said.
According to Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, more than 3400 Indian companies are headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah, which indicated “great potential” in this route.
Indians are the largest group of international migrants living abroad at 17.5 million, according to new data released by the United Nations on Wednesday, cited by Gulf News. Of them, an estimated 3.3 million remain in the UAE, accounting for the largest Indian community in the world. As a result, Indians represent the nationality with the highest presence in the entirety of the UAE, even more than Emiratis, according to Global Media Insight.
RAK to receive an economic boost
With such an unrivaled presence of nationality in the country, it makes a lot of sense why SpiceJet would want to set up the country’s first Indian-owned airline, and RAK Airport is wise to facilitate this. RAK rulership has been very active in their development of their Emirate, whether economically or otherwise.
“Logistics is a central part to the ongoing [economic] revolution,” Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of RAK, said earlier this year in an interview with CNN. From port expansions to a focus on construction, Ras Al Khaimah has been capitalizing on its strengths.
“Name any port in the Gulf and you will find it’s built by Ras Al Khaimah,” he said.
SpiceJet’s new operations out of RAK will give its aviation sector the needed boost. With Abu Dhabi announcing last week that it would be receiving its first LLC, following a partnership between Etihad Airways and Air Arabia, RAK can soon say that it has an airline of its own as well.
SpiceJet currently operates a fleet of 111 Boeing and Bombardier aircraft and flies to over 50 Indian destinations as well as several international routes, according to company information.
The new airline they are setting up will join 5 others in the UAE: Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai, Air Arabia, and the recently announced Air Arabia Abu Dhabi.