Restarting UAE-India air links 'imperative' for trade, says RAK Airport CEO

Final preparations take place for the launch of SpiceJet services from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport on November 26

The airport is gearing up to receive the first commercial flights from Indian value carrier SpiceJet on November 26.

The CEO of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport said on Saturday that re-establishing links with India is “imperative” as it readied for the launch of SpiceJet flights.

The airport is gearing up to receive the first commercial flights from Indian value carrier SpiceJet on November 26, signally a “steady return” to normal economic activity following the Covid-19 pandemic, a joint statement said.

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The launch is poised to create “notable economic growth and momentum in both countries, providing a major boost to the UAE’s efforts to restore activity across all its vital sectors to pre-coronavirus levels,” it added.

Operating an initial schedule of twice-weekly flights, SpiceJet’s first tranche of services will connect travellers to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, allowing passengers to fly to 28 destinations within India, with further destinations to be added moving forward.

Sanjay Khanna (pictured below), CEO of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport, said: “The commencement of SpiceJet passenger flights into RAK Airport is a significant step forward in helping the UAE get back to a normal footing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Indian expatriate community in the UAE numbers almost 3.5 million people and constitutes 27 percent of the population, making connectivity between our two countries an imperative. With UAE and India being each other’s largest trading partners, RAK Airport has an essential role to play in the business and economy of the emirate, especially in view of Ras Al Khaimah’s efforts to diversify its economy from heavy industry to one that is knowledge-based and underpinned by human capital and tourism.” 

He added: “We look forward to closer collaboration with all entities involved in this project, and to doing our part in promoting the Emirate’s attractions and tourist hotspots.”

More SpiceJet destinations across the Indian sub-continent will be added in the coming months, the statement said.

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“As we enter the post-coronavirus phase, we are looking forward to continuing to play a vital role in Ras Al Khaimah’s ongoing growth and development, especially its tourist sector, which is anticipated to experience a surge in visitors now that travel restrictions are slowly being eased,” said Ajay Singh, chief managing director, SpiceJet.

SpiceJet recently raised its profile among the Indian community in the UAE thanks to its efforts in flying home Indian nationals at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak. The airline repatriated almost 53,000 Indian nationals on approximately 300 flights from the beginning of June.

SpiceJet said its cheapest return flight ticket on the Delhi – Ras Al Khaimah route is priced at AED730, including free road transportation from Abu Dhabi,  Dubai and Sharjah.

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