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RAK International Airport: Poised for a surge

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H.E. Engr. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman, Ras Al Khaimah Airport

As it approaches its 40th anniversary,  Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has reported a highly successful 2015, during which aircraft movements of scheduled flights increased by 26% over the previous year. New charter operations from Germany, Poland, Latvia and Russia also kicked off.

In addition, Air Arabia, for whom RAK International is a growing hub, increased flight frequencies to the 10 destinations that they service from the emirate. The cumulative effect of these positive results was a 17% rise in passenger traffic over 2014.

On the cargo front the airport’s business grew by 51% year on year following some reconfigurations made early in 2015. Moving to non-aeronautical activities RAK International made significant progress too during 2015 with new deals being signed for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul as well as aircraft decommissioning.

2016 will see a number of projects and initiatives, including a new cargo facility to be ready by April and the expansion of the Arrivals terminal which will be completed by May.

2016 also sees the 40th anniversary of Ras Al Khaimah Airport , leading Mohammed Qazi, RAK International Airport CEO, to say, “This is a moment when we should acknowledge past achievements, celebrate the present, and look forward to a future of growth. On that path, the clear vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, continues to provide us with guidance and support.”

Qazi emphasized that the focus ahead is on becoming the leading low cost and charter airport of the Northern Emirates, stating, “We have a long-term vision that is closely linked with the economies and growth trends of the Northern Emirates.”

With Qatar Airways set to start operations from February, another major milestone, Ras Al Khaimah International will be able to continue its pursuit of the tourism sector as well as connecting the emirate to long haul destinations around the globe with ‘the world’s 5-star airline.’D

On the short to medium haul routes Air Arabia plays a crucial role in connecting Ras Al Khaimah as the national carrier. New routes from RAK are anticipated during 2016 for Air Arabia across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. However, in order to satisfy the continuously growing population and economies of the Northern Emirates RAK Airport is regularly speaking with other airlines and anticipates an announcement in the coming weeks regarding the commencement of another low cost carrier.

“2016 is going to be a challenging yet exciting year for us” added Mohammed Qazi. “We are very focused and aware of what lies ahead. Our target is to increase productivity, be efficient, develop customer intimacy and promote Ras Al Khaimah. It is about building a long-term and sustainable future that contributes to regional aviation growth.”

DIRECT QATAR AIRWAYS FLIGHTS FROM DOHA TO RAS AL KHAIMAH BEGAN 2ND FEBRUARY 2016

• The QR1120 flight departs from Doha’s Hamad International Airport at 20:15

• Connecting flights from Germany and Poland via Doha, improving accessibility from Europe

The new flights have been announced as a result of growing demand for more capacity in and out of Ras Al Khaimah.

The new Airbus A320 aircraft operates four weekly flights with code QR1120 from Hamad International Airport, departing from Doha at 20:15 and arriving in Ras Al Khaimah International Airport at 22.30 local time. The return flight with code QR1121 departs from Ras Al Khaimah at 23.30 and arrives in Doha at 23.45 local time.

The aircraft features 144 seats in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy. Selected aircrafts will feature seatback TV screens, providing passengers with the next generation interactive on-board entertainment system Oryx One, featuring a choice of more than 900 audio and video on-demand options, together with an SMS text messaging service from each seat.

Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “We are constantly looking at ways in which to make Ras Al Khaimah more accessible to travellers and this agreement with Qatar Airways means that the emirate will officially be connected to 170 destinations across the globe. Over the course of the next few years, we will be establishing several partnerships in the public and private sectors, which will ultimately support our goal of attracting one million visitors to Ras Al Khaimah by the end of 2018.”

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are delighted to launch our newest route in the United Arab Emirates – Ras Al Khaimah. Qatar Airways ‘ network expansion will undoubtedly increase the flexibility and choice for our passengers to travel to and from different emirates in the UAE. And we are looking forward to enhance worldwide travel opportunities from Europe, Asia and Americas to new tourist destinations in the region such as Ras Al Khaimah.”

Qatar Airways , the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 18th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 164 aircraft flying to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. B

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