Flying from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, Sharjah or Fujairah on a business jet will soon be cheaper than travelling to the same places by taxi under expansion plans announced yesterday by Rotana Jet.
The Abu Dhabi charter jet operator yesterday launched twice daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah, Al Ain and Sharjah for as little as Dh150 (US$40) one way.
All-inclusive one-way fares to Fujairah and Sharjah start from Dh200, and to Al Ain from Dh150. A taxi from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah costs about Dh600, to Sharjah Dh300 and to Al Ain about Dh250.
The domestic airline, which was created in 2010, currently flies executive charter flights and launched the first domestic schedule to Bani Yas and Delma islands in June.
It will begin expanding its network on September 19 with an inaugural flight to Fujairah.
"Air connectivity is a key component of any country's development," said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saif Al Nahyan, the chairman of the airline. "At Rotana Jet, we are committed to developing a safe, reliable and efficient air transport connecting the various emirates of the UAE with the capital to improve easy accessibility both domestically and internationally. This will facilitate greater and more equitable benefits for tourism growth as well."
For the new routes, Rotana Jet, which is not linked to the hotel company of the same name, will operate an Embraer ERJ145 aircraft with 50 seats at the standard long-haul size of 31 inches.
"In today's world the consumers' travel behaviour has changed rapidly. They are looking for quicker, comfortable and more efficient ways of reaching from one place to another without spending much time," added Sheikh Ahmed.
The flight to Fujairah will take 45 minutes and Rotana Jet said it recommended customers arrive at the airport 90 minutes before departure, making the total travel time less than three hours.
The twice-daily flights will take off from Abu Dhabi in the mornings and evenings.
Eastern Express, based in Fujairah, had hoped to be the first airline to offer flights between the Northern Emirates and Abu Dhabi but those plans were stalled this year as the General Civil Aviation Authority ruled the company could not lease its first aircraft as it did not have national carrier status.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi International Airport is growing at a rapid pace, with a 23 per cent increase in traffic in the first half of the year, compared with the same period a year ago, to more than 7 million passengers.
"Abu Dhabi Airports Company (Adac) sees the necessity of connecting the capital's airport, one of the main aviation hubs in the region, with the other key airports across the Emirates, to further develop connectivity not only for Abu Dhabi but for the whole of the UAE," said Ali Majed Al Mansoori, the chairman of Adac.
"As one of the fastest-growing airports around the world, with the launch of Rotana Jet domestic flights Abu Dhabi International Airport is once more providing high-end, efficient service to meet the needs of its diverse customers."