RAK Airways to grow regionally

Brand: RAK Airlines Spokesperson: Captain Khalid Almeer, COO
Captain Almeer: Focus on the region

How has 2007 fared for RAK Airways?
The year 2007 has been very productive as we have managed to successfully launch our inaugural flight after initial hardships.

Our ongoing efforts for traffic rights to many countries are still in the pipeline and we hope to conclude many of them over the next two or three months. Meanwhile, we launched flights to Dhaka, Colombo, and Beirut on 13 December 2007.

What are the company’s plans for 2008?
Our first objective is to grow and establish RAK Airways in the Middle East region before we undertake trans-continental flights over the next two to three years. Initially we are planning to acquire six to eight narrow-bodied aircraft, covering about 20 destinations within the Gulf, South Asia, Middle East and East Africa.
Thus, RAK Airways will be expanding in three phases – each of six months duration. The first phase will see us launch our services across five destinations and the growth of RAK Airways within the Indian subcontinent, GCC, Middle East, and East Africa. The second phase will focus on six more destinations and third phase will cater to eight additional destinations. Routes like the Philippines will be on our radar as and when we introduce wide-bodied aircraft to our fleet. RAK Airways has launched its services with Boeing 757.
In the short term, we hope to acquire the six to eight narrow-bodied aircraft initially. We plan to grow our fleet organically, on an as needed basis.

What is the company’s strategy in the face of competition?
Like any other industry, all players are potential competitors. At RAK Airways, we welcome healthy competition as this will provide a convenient ‘check and balance’ for our own benefit in our endeavors to achieve very high levels of competency in our services.

What can travellers look forward to in the New Year?
Stress free, flights, and an extensive network of destinations to choose.

What will be the biggest challenges facing you in the Middle East in 2008?
The Middle East is witnessing rapid growth in the tourism and aviation business. There are huge opportunities as well as pitfalls. Carriers like Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Air India and Jet Airways are inducting large capacity, which will put pressure on passenger fares. We will have to balance our act to overcome these market adversities. That is the greatest challenge I foresee and I am confident that with our acumen and pro-activeness, we will finally emerge successful.