Business | Aviation

RAK Airways prepares to take to skies after halting operations

Recover from turbulence that hit global aviation last year

  • By Nadia Saleem, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 July 1, 2010
  • Gulf News

Set for take off
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • As RAK Airways prepares to re-launch, the airline is finalising the details of destinations which will be in the Gulf, Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Dubai: After being absent for more than a year from the UAE skies, RAK Airways will once again take off, competing with the big carriers of the UAE.

Last year the airline suspended operations, battered by the economic downturn that hit the global aviation industry, causing the loss of billions of dollars.

Shaikh Omar Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK Airways, said the conditions that caused the airline to be suspended have now "sufficiently abated."

"We are now ready to make a strategic re-entry into the market," he said. "We have a lot of exciting new plans, which will be unveiled soon."

There have been previous comments that the re-launch of the airline might be in the form of a low-cost carrier.

The airline began operations in 2007 with two Boeing 757-200s and one leased from Ariana Afghan Airways. Currently, it has a Dh1.65 billion order with Boeing for four single-aisle 737-800 aircraft, placed in early 2008.

"The decision to re-launch the airline is part of the ambitious vision of Shaikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, aimed at boosting tourism in the emirate. RAK Airways is viewed as a key part of that plan," Shaikh Omar said.

He said the company's new chief executive Omar Jahameh is finalising the details of the destinations that will be served by the carrier, which will be in the Gulf, Indian Sub-continent and Africa.

Officials refused to give more operational details at this point, especially about the aircraft with which it would re-launch the airline.

RAK Airways, operating where energy is a key market that is served by corporate contracts and private jets, will not find it a viable market, London-based Max Sukkhasantikul, commercial aviation consultant at Frost & Sullivan, said.

The only viable new business model at RAK International Airport is for charter airlines, to serve areas where existing needs are not being met within the oil and gas industry, he said.

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