RAK Airways plans to set up unit for MRO facilities


RAK Airways is planning to set up a unit for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities, its top executive said.

"There is a possibility that we may venture into facilities such as maintenance, overhaul and repair for our aircraft as well as planes of other airlines, perhaps," K Ravindran, Chief Operating Officer of RAK Airways, told Emirates Business without divulging a timeframe for the same.

Asked if RAK Airways would be tying up with Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, or DAE, for the business, Ravindran said: "We have not yet selected a partner but we are looking at the most economic way of doing it."

As another business initiative, the airline is planning to set up its own holiday division, RAK Holidays, within the next three months time, according to Ravindran.

"We are planning to set up a holiday division called RAK Holidays under the umbrella of RAK Airways, in order to promote holiday packages through the division," he said.

The Ras Al Khaimah-based carrier is also aiming to fly about one million passengers in about 12-18 months' time. "When we achieve that, it would translate into almost $200 million (Dh734m) in revenues," said Ravindran.

Having kick-started operations in November 2007 with two destinations – Dhaka and Colombo – the airline has ambitious plans of touching 19 destinations by end-2009. "We started Chittagong in March and Calicut in April this year and now we are planning to add Saudi Arabia, Cairo, Kathmandu, Amman, Damascus and some points in Russia, to our route network," said Ravindran, adding that the airline will add at least three more destinations by this year-end. "The priorities are Cairo, Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu," said Ravindran.

For Russia, however, the airline has an initial plan of flying dedicated charters to four destinations in the Russian federation. "All these flights should be in place before the end of this year," said Ravindran.

He further said that beyond that, subject to gaining aero-political rights, RAK Airways has plans to expand to Pakistan, East Africa, North Africa and some point in Europe, such as Sophia.

"So altogether we will be looking at about 19 destinations by 2009, of which, we would add three this year alone. That would make it seven destinations this year. And next year, we will add 10-12 more destinations," said Ravindran.

Meanwhile, with two aircraft forming RAK Airways' fleet at present, the carrier plans to add six more aircraft by 2011. "We have already made a purchase agreement for the same. Six to eight planes will be our target for the first two to three years," said Ravindran, adding that it would be an all-Boeing fleet.

"We have no plans to add Airbus to our fleet. We feel that Boeing aircraft are suitable for our type of operations," he said.

When asked about funding the aircraft expansion, Ravindran said: "We have just signed an agreement for the purchase. We haven't yet decided whether to go in for any syndicated loan or funds. We have various options such as bank financing or syndicate financing.

"We are currently studying all of them," he said.