Gulf Air mulls Ras Al Khaimah services

Ras Al Khaimah looks set to become the third destination in the United Arab Emirates to be served by Bahrain’s national carrier.

Gulf Air is exploring the potential for scheduled flights to Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost emirate of the UAE.

Bahrain's flag-carrier has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ras Al Khaimah International (RKT), designed to build connectivity between Bahrain and the emirate. The agreement was signed in a virtual ceremony that brought together executives from both organizations.

“We are always keen to explore ways to enhance the connectivity between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UAE,” Gulf Air acting CEO Waleed AlAlawi (pictured right) said. “As a boutique carrier, we look forward to adding Ras Al Khaimah to our network of destinations.”

The fourth largest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah is currently unserved from Bahrain. The addition of RKT would expand the Gulf Air’s UAE network to three destinations, alongside Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB).

Data provided by Sabre Market Intelligence shows that O&D traffic between the UAE and Bahrain totaled 1.02 million two-way passengers in 2019, with DXB-Bahrain International (BAH) the largest market, followed by Sharjah (SHJ)-BAH.

“Gulf-state connectivity is a key tenet of our expansion strategy, and with its long history, commendable track record, and vast network, Gulf Air is an ideal partner for this mission,” RKT CEO Sanjay Khanna (pictured left) said.

“This move will allow residents, expats, and tourists in the northern emirates of the UAE to connect to as far as the Philippines in the east and London in the west.” 

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The potential addition of Gulf Air comes as a further boost for RKT, which in recent weeks has secured five new routes launched by Indian LCC SpiceJet. The airline has added flights to the emirate from Amritsar (ATQ), Cochin (COK), Jaipur (JAI) and Mumbai (BOM), as well as increasing frequencies from Delhi (DEL).

SpiceJet operated its first service to RKT in late November and is currently the only carrier offering scheduled nonstop flights between the airport and destinations in India. The expansion is a precursor to the airline opening a base at RKT.

“The aviation industry has its eyes set on recovery following the difficult year we had in 2020,” Khanna said. “The air ways are opening up as COVID-19 restrictions gradually ease, and passengers increasingly confident to take to the skies once again.”

Photo credit: Gulf Air