RAK Airways, which will launch service in January next year, plans to start operation in January next year with two aircraft – a Boeing 737 it owns and a Boeing 757 it leases.
In its first year, the airline will fly twice a week to 15 destinations in Iran and India, said Jack Romero, CEO, in an interview with Gulf News. In 2008, Romero plans on expanding into nine more markets in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
By year three, with a fleet of over 10 aircraft, the airline will fly Russia and CIS countries Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, and possibly chartered flights to Europe.
“We knew we couldn’t emulate the other three carriers in the UAE because we don’t have a large enough catchment area,” he said.
He also said he will not be able to convince Dubai and Sharjah residents to drive 90 minutes to RAK airport, although he believed a small number will make the trip for the extra baggage allowance of 45kg check in and 10kg carry on.
RAK Airways will primarily serve businessmen and tourists and offer shuttle service to Dubai, he said. A growing number of both groups will head to Ras Al Khaimah as it develops its economy, he said.
Romero said by the end of year three, the carrier should turn a profit even assuming oil at $100 a barrel and 39 per cent occupancy on its flights.
Until then, RAK Airways will rely on cash reserves of Dh500 million after an initial offering raised Dh850 million. The company, which is majority owned by over 30 Gulf investors as well as the RAK government, is expected to grow from 40 staff today to 200 by launch.
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