SpiceJet, India’s low-cost airline has announced plans to create its first international hub at Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and launch a new carrier based in the UAE.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet, said at a press conference in Ras Al Khaimah that the airline is looking to make the emirate its stepping stone into Europe, mulling an international hub as India’s airports become more overcrowded.
Ras Al Khaimah is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) northernmost emirate.
The emirate would be the first international hub for SpiceJet as the airline aims to expand its connectivity to both the Gulf and European destinations.
The airline said it sees “great potential” in the emirate, and will start in December 2019 to base aircraft in the emirate.
On Wednesday, SpiceJet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RAK International Airport to commence direct flights from December between RAK and New Delhi. It will operate five flights a week with the intention of increasing the frequency slowly.
Singh said that they have applied for a license to set up a new airline from Ras Al Khaimah that is scheduled to take off next year.
“We are looking to set up a regional Ras Al Khaimah-based airline. We apply for certification in the near future and it will take between three to six months for the approval. The new airline will help connect India to the destinations of Eastern and Western Europe using RAK as the hub, “said Singh.
After Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia, flydubai and recently announced Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, SpiceJet will be the sixth airline to operate from the UAE.
He said that there will be about four to five jets based in Ras Al Khaimah and that they will be 737 MAX series after being approved by the US regulator.
Singh noted that airports in India are becoming congested and SpiceJet is forced to look at alternatives in the area with new aircraft coming.
The SpiceJet cheif also said that the new airline’s name and destinations are still being debated.
According to him, Ras Al Khaimah has a strong potential to become a center for communication with Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
“Ras Al Khaimah sees a heavy inflow of European tourists so it deserves a direct connection,” Singh said.