Gulf Air has become the second airline in the past week to announce new flights to Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The carrier will commence schedule services to Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RKT) on Oct. 3, operating two flights per week from its Bahrain (BAH) home with a view to establishing a year-round scheduled operation.
The expansion increases Gulf Air’s network in the UAE to three points alongside Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB). It follows an deal signed between the airline and RKT last November to explore the potential for nonstop flights.
“This agreement expands Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’s airspace by introducing multiple destinations from east to west,” RKT chairman Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi said.
“It is a great development to cater for the needs of regional and international travelers. This agreement enhances the services between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UAE; and we are delighted to have this in partnership with Gulf Air.”
Gulf Air currently serves BAH-AUH 2X-daily, competing with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, Etihad Airways and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Up to 7X-daily services are offered by Gulf Air on the BAH-DXB sector, competing with Emirates and Flydubai.
Elsewhere in the Bahrain-UAE market, Air Arabia also serves BAH-Sharjah (SHJ) 3X-daily, but Gulf Air will become the sole operator of BAH-RKT flights.
“These new flights will cater to the high demand for travel to Ras Al Khaimah, with India being the third largest international source market for the city in 2021, and traffic expected to reach pre-pandemic levels this year,” said Sanjay Kumar, IndiGo chief strategy and revenue officer, following the new route announcement.
In recent years, Ras Al Khaimah has embarked on a push to further develop its tourism industry, with a series of investments planned over the coming years.
The emirate welcomed 521,085 international and domestics visitors between January and June 2022, a total increase of 21% compared with the first half of 2021 and a return to pre-pandemic figures.
The performance has been bolstered by the opening of several new hotels and resorts, including Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah on Marjan Island, the InterContinental Mina Al Arab, and most recently, the debut of Mövenpick at Al Marjan Island, located on a 300-meter stretch of shoreline and home to the largest floating water park in the emirate.
“We are on track to reach more than 1.11 million arrivals by the end of the year and to fully return to pre-pandemic levels in just two years,” said Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Wynn Resorts plans to build a 1,000-room hotel on the Al Marjan Island. The development is slated to open in 2026.