SPICEJET TO SET UP JOINT VENTURE AIRLINE IN UAE
In October this year, Ajay Singh Chairman and Managing Director of SpiceJet stated that his company will be setting up an airline at Ras Al Khaimah with a local partner and will have a 49 per cent shareholding in the joint venture ( JV). The carrier, which is the second-largest in India, inked a memorandum of understanding with Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and will launch its first flight from Delhi to the Emirate in December 2019. Ajay Singh stated that the airline had been eyeing an international hub for some time as India’s airports become more congested and as SpiceJet prepares to expand its aircraft fleet. He believes there is “tremendous potential” in a partnership with Ras Al Khaimah, which is still untapped.
By December this year, the budget carrier plans to have five aircraft based in Ras Al Khaimah to be deployed on medium-haul flights of six to seven hours. This would include destinations in Eastern and Western Europe, as SpiceJet sees the new hub as its stepping stone into European markets. SpiceJet has already started freighter operations into Ras Al Khaimah and plans to expand that to create a logistics hub at the airport. Additionally, the airline is looking at the potential for maintenance and overhaul operations out of the UAE airport. Shaikh Khalid Bin Saud Al Qasimi, Vice-Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah’s Investment and Development Office, said the deal with SpiceJet is in line with the Emirate’s strategy to develop its airport. Al Qasimi said the emirate is targeting 2.5 million tourists in the next five years, up from the current figure of one million and sees huge potential for growth in the Emirate’s aviation sector.