The first SpiceJet passenger flight at the Ras Al Khaimah International Airport.
Inayat-ur-Rahman, Deputy Business Editor
Ras Al Khaimah: Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RAK Airport) on Friday welcomed the first scheduled SpiceJet passenger flight, with the aircraft’s arrival heralding the commencement of both a new phase of operations for the UAE transport hub and a new era of connectivity between India and Ras Al Khaimah.
Touching down just before 01:00 on Friday morning, SpiceJet’s flight SG 160 from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, was given a ‘Water Salute’ - the traditional greeting for new flights that sees two airport fire tenders positioned either side of the aircraft spraying a plume of water into an arc over as it taxis to its stand.
After landing and deplaning from the Boeing 737-800, the passengers on SpiceJet’s inaugural flight into RAK Airport were treated to a red carpet walkway as they made their way into the airport terminal. There they were each given a gift from RAK Airport Duty-Free to commemorate the occasion and were invited to participate in a cake-cutting ceremony.
Among the officials and dignitaries greeting the first set of passengers in SpiceJet’s first flight were Shri Uttam Chand, Community Affairs Consul at Consulate General of India in Dubai; Mr. Sanjay Khanna, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. Also attending the event were representatives from RAK Tourism Development Authority, SpiceJet, and key members from the Indian trade industry and business houses in the UAE.
Speaking at the occasion, the officials attending highlighted the significance of the flight, with SpiceJet’s first tranche of new services set to connect passengers in the UAE to 28 destinations in India via Delhi, with more cities to be progressively added in the coming weeks and months. Among the benefits of the new service that were highlighted was the economic enhancement that such connectivity would bring to business communities in both India and Ras Al Khaimah.
“We, at the Department of Civil Aviation Ras Al Khaimah, are thrilled and excited to welcome SpiceJet to Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. This new service will open new routes for us to India, which is our largest market. With the facility to connect to more than 28 destinations in India via Delhi, it will stimulate consumer demand, provide connectivity and ease to our residents, and promote international tourism. As Jerry Crawford, an American aviation enthusiast once said: ‘To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home,’” said Engr. Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of Ras Al Khaimah Department of Civil Aviation and Ras Al Khaimah International Airport
“India and the UAE enjoy a particularly strong relationship – one that has been built up over centuries of commerce and business as regional neighbours and has evolved into a comprehensive strategic partnership. The significance of our ties is evident from the fact that we are one of the largest trading partners for each other, with goods, services and people travelling freely between our countries. These ties necessitate there being a comprehensive travel network to fully connect us and to cater for the almost 3.3 million Indians now residing in the UAE. I would like to congratulate Ras Al Khaimah International Airport and SpiceJet on achieving this milestone. I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and UAE Supreme Council Member for his exceptional support for strengthening and deepening the India-UAE relationship. SpiceJet’s new schedule will be instrumental in promoting two-way trade and investment and further cementing the bonds between our communities,” commented Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General, Consulate of India, Dubai.
“The addition of Ras Al Khaimah as our 12th international destination today marks one of the most important days in our 15-year history and represents a major stepping up of our commercial operations.
RAK Airport has been a vital partner for us since we signed an MoU with them last year and they are a major part of our expansion plans, which are to deliver more services to more destinations across the Indian sub-continent and the rest of the world. SpiceJet has flown with the highest occupancy of over 90% in India for a record five years now, which is a testament of our popularity and the addition of our flights to Ras Al Khaimah has received a tremendous response. As an Indian operation, we enjoy a significant amount of goodwill within Indian communities at the destinations we serve, with the UAE no exception. We intend to build on this by delivering excellent value for our new service.
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