RAK Airways, the fourth national carrier of the UAE, said it plans to order 15 passenger aircraft from Airbus or Boeing to meet surging demand for air travel in the Middle East.
The airline, which has leased two Boeing 757s, will decide in 2010 whether to order twin-engine A330-200s from Airbus or 787 models from Boeing, the carrier's CEO, Jack Romero, said.
An A330-200 costs $150 million at list prices, valuing the order at about $2.25 billion. Part of this money may come from a possible IPO, he said.
"The growth in this region is phenomenal," Romero said on the sidelines of a Middle East Economic Digest investment conference in Ras Al Khaimah. "Passenger growth is 15 to 16 per cent per year in the GCC region."
The airline has received its air operating certificate from the UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), he said. It will start flights in April, with two leased Boeing 757- 200 aircraft, and will offer services to Iran and India in its first year, as soon as traffic rights become available. Launch destinations are expected to include Mumbai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Kochi, Bangalore, Tehran, Esfahan and Bandar Abbas.
The carrier will add destinations in India and Pakistan in its second year, and flights to Europe in its third, Romero said.
The airline expects to fly 230,000 passengers in its first year of operations and aims to carry 580, 000 passengers by the third year. "According to our very conservative estimates, we will be carrying 2.7 million passengers in five years," he said. The airline aims to be a full-service scheduled airline and will offer generous baggage allowances of up to 45 kg on selected routes.
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