Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet announced plans to set up its first international hub in the UAE, after signing an agreement with Ras Al Khaimah Airport.
The airline will begin operating flights between New Delhi and RAK by December, a statement said. The route will be operated five times a week, targeted to gradually increase the frequency.
SpiceJet plans to expand its network from RAK and fly to European destinations.
Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, confirmed that the airline will begin operations with Boeing 737 Next Generation jets with plans to deploy the 737 Max once the planes are allowed to operate again.
The move comes due to “congestion” in Indian airports and will help the airline expand its reach, he said.
“With more than 3400 Indian companies headquartered in Ras Al Khaimah, we see great potential in this route. Partnering with Ras Al Khaimah International Airport will help expand our operations and we see it as the way for SpiceJet to grow within the UAE, Europe and beyond,” he said.
“We are very confident of this alliance and believe that this is the start to something very positive and profitable for all.”
He also confirmed that SpiceJet has applied for a licence to operate a new airline out of RAK. He anticipates the the new carrier will launch next year.
Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, chairman of RAK Airport and the Department of Civil Aviation said: “We are constantly working towards adding more routes to and from Ras Al Khaimah. Apart from the addition of a very vital route, this relationship will serve to be a very strategic one serving the wide Indian diaspora of residents and businesses in Ras Al Khaimah.
“From our partnership, we not only aim to connect India but also assist SpiceJet to create network hub at Ras Al Khaimah to go further to Europe, meeting the needs of Indian tourist as well as facilitating easy travel solution for tourist arriving to Ras Al Khaimah from Europe,” he added.