Ras Al Khaimah International airport has signed an agreement with Gulf Air to facilitate daily, year-round, international connections – an important step to further strengthen international access for the UAE’s most authentic tourist destination.
Ras Al Khaimah is the smallest of the seven Emirates forming the federation of the UAE. Located on the northern tip of the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is renowned for its outstanding nature, leisure, adventure and authentic offerings. With its relaxed lifestyle, unspoilt landscapes and a history dating back over seven millennia, the Emirate has become one of the most sought after destinations in the Middle East.
RAK is keen to boost its connectivity through its airport. The facility has been opened since 1976 but it is only since the early 2000s that it started to develop internationally. The Ras Al Khaimah International Airport operates with full immigration, customs, air traffic control and security services with no restrictions on frequencies or time of arrival or departure. Compared to some other UAE airports, it is an uncongested facility with easy procedures for passengers.
In 2019, the airport accommodated close to 352,000 passengers. From January to July 2021, the airport recorded over 212,000 passengers after a drop due to Covid in 2020.
RAK airport is currently served by a number of foreign airlines although, surprisingly, large carriers such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways do not serve the airport. But that is about to change. Gulf Air, the national airline of Bahrain, in co-ordination with Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RAK International Airport), will commence scheduled services to Ras Al Khaimah on October 3, 2022.
Gulf Air to provide year round international connections via Bahrain
The service will commence with a view to establish a year-round scheduled operation between the two airports connecting the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah beyond Bahrain to regional and international destinations on Gulf Air’s global network.
Commenting on the agreement Gulf Air Chairman to the Board of Directors, Zayed R. Alzayani said: “As the region’s leading boutique carrier with a global footprint, Gulf Air looks forward to adding Ras Al Khaimah to our network of seaside destinations and increasing our UAE points to three with Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I am confident our passengers will be impressed with all the facilities and services Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has to offer.”
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’s Chairman Sheikh Salem Bin Sultan Al Qasimi added: “This agreement expands Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’s airspace by introducing multiple destinations from East to West. It is a great development to cater for the needs of regional and international travellers. 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.”
RAK International Airport CEO Atanasios Titonis stated that “Gulf-state and European connectivity is a key factor of our expansion strategy, and Gulf Air is an ideal partner for this mission. We are looking forward to further developing our partnership and providing more scope for passengers to select their destination of travel from our airport.”
2022 is set to become a successful year for RAK International Airport. Besides the arrival of Gulf Air, Ras Al Khaimah air gateway has seen an influx of new carriers: Air Arabia introduced flights to Jeddah in August while India’s IndiGo is due to start flights to Mumbai in September. Malta’s holiday air carrier Corendon Airlines will base an aircraft in Ras Al Khaimah this winter. From November, it will offer three weekly flights from Düsseldorf and from Munich as well as two weekly frequencies from Frankfurt. Flights will be available until May 1, 2023.
Sustainable tourism at heart of RAK Tourism Development Authority
All these positive news occur as Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has announced earlier this year its comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Destination Strategy. Target of RAK blue print is to turn the nature-based Emirate into the regional leader in environmentally conscious tourism by 2025.
The guiding principles for Sustainable Tourism in Ras Al Khaimah include: delivering authentic tourism experiences through preservation and conservation, taking an industry wide focus that provides both economic productivity and sustainable development, improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens and residents with a community based approach and setting environmental goals based minimizing the industry’s carbon footprint and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.