NEW DELHI: India’s second largest carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday signed an agreement to set up its first international hub at Ras Al Khaimah and announced plans to launch an airline from there in the near future. Ajay Singh, chairman of SpiceJet, was quoted by Khaleej Times as saying that the budget airline has applied for a licence for the new airline which will operate from Ras Al Khaimah.
“We are looking to establish an airline locally based at Ras Al Khaimah. We are applying for certification shortly and the approval will take three to six months. The new airline will help connect India with Eastern and Western Europe using RAK as a hub,” Singh said.
Earlier, Jet had a European hub at Brussels, which it later moved to Amsterdam to connect North America with India. Aviation analysts say passengers now prefer direct flights than going through hubs. However, Gulf-based carriers as well as Singapore, Turkish and European airlines have been routing Indian passengers to Europe and North America through their national airports by offering cheaper or more frequent connections.
SpiceJet also signed an MoU with the RAK International Airport to start direct flights between RAK and New Delhi from December 2019. Initially, the airline will start with five flights a week, gradually increasing the number depending on demand.
Why Ras Al Khaimah?
SpiceJet sees great potential in Ras Al Khaimah, where over 3,400 Indian companies are headquartered. “We see partnering with RAK Airport as the way to grow within the UAE, Europe and beyond,” said SpiceJet CMD Ajay Singh