posted on 04/10/2012: 1148 views
You can now fly between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi in about 25 minutes as RAK Airways on Wednesday became the first UAE carrier to operate domestic flights between the two emirates.
The first passengers on the historic inaugural flight from Ras Al Khaimah to Abu Dhabi were treated to views of the UAE coastline studded with manmade marvels like the world's tallest tower, Burj Khalifa, and the date-tree shaped islands of Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali — all under Dubai skies along the way.
The A320 Airbus plane was barely in the sky for 15 minutes following take-off at 7am from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport when the captain announced it was time for the landing approach into Abu Dhabi. The flight touched down at about 7.30am at Abu Dhabi International Airport to the cheers of passengers. A ceremonial water salute, where planes pass under an arch made by water jets on both sides, was also held for the new arrival.
The trip costs Dh205 one-way and Dh410 roundtrip. The flight operates on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It departs Ras Al Khaimah at 6.40am and arrives in Abu Dhabi at 7.20am. On the same day, the return flight is scheduled to depart Abu Dhabi at 10am and arrive in Ras Al Khaimah at 10.40am.
Apart from regular passengers, also on board were Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of DCA; Sheikh Mohammad Bin Qaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Economic Development of Ras Al Khaimah, other VIPs and journalists.
The maiden flight follows a codeshare deal between RAK Airways and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, allowing passengers to connect to five destinations serviced by Etihad — between Abu Dhabi and London, Manchester, Dublin, Bangkok, and Geneva.
About a dozen passengers on the flight had final stops in Abu Dhabi, while a number of other passengers were travelling onwards to Bangkok via an Etihad code-sharing (connecting) flight, said RAK Airways CEO John Brayford. He added that the list included some RAK passengers who had initially come from Peshawar and Dhaka.
Codeshare requests for some US and German destinations are also pending, Brayford said.
A statement on RAK Airways' website says: "The agreement, the first ever between two UAE carriers, will see Etihad Airways place its ‘EY' code on the RAK Airways flight between Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi. In return, RAK Airways will place its ‘RT' code on Etihad Airways routes, which initially includes flights between Abu Dhabi and London Heathrow, Manchester, Dublin, Bangkok and Geneva.”
There are also plans to make the domestic flights daily by the end of 2012 and twice a day by April 2013, Brayford said.
"We may not be able to match the luxury and entertainment services of Emirates or Qatar [airlines], but we can beat them on service. Personal customer service and satisfaction — that's our USP [unique selling point],” he added.
The carrier is planning to a third plane to its fleet of two aircraft. – Gulf News
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