SpiceJet's RAK flights to start from end-December
New airline to be established in 2020
Passenger carrier SpiceJet will commence flight operations to Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE from the end of December, but its wait to establish an airline there might happen only in 2020.
"We have applied to establish an airline there [Ras Al Khaimah]. Everything depends on regulatory approvals," the airline's chairman and managing director Ajay Singh told IANS. "Flights from India to Ras Al Khaimah will commence soon. We expect the first flight to start from the end of this year. There is a huge market potential there." Flights to Ras Al Khaimah assumes significance due to the heavy labour traffic from India to the emirate and beyond.
At present, a bilateral air service agreement between Ras Al Khaimah and India,allows for four flights per week. Out of these, two are already operated by Air India Express. On the size of the new airline, Singh said that initailly SpiceJet will lease out four to five aircraft to the newly-formed passenger carrier.
The RAK-based airline plans to launch flights to Eastern Europe, other cities in the Middle East and Africa from Ras Al Khaimah, but its plans depend heavily on the timely return of the 737 MAX.
Lately, SpiceJet has implemented an aggressive international expansion plan. Nonetheless, the foray was halted due to the grounding of the 737 MAX. Now with the expected return of the aircraft from early next year, the airline seems to be shoring up its plans.
So sure is SpiceJet on the return of the MAX by early 2020 that the company will cap its total passenger fleet to 119 aircraft until early 2020. It expects to get 25 or more aircraft at its disposal just after the plane gets re-certified for operations. The airline has a firm order of more than 150 Max aircarft.
Besides organic expansion, the airline this week entered into a codeshare and interline agreement with Dubai-based Emirates airline, pending government approvals.
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