x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Rotana Jet moves into scheduled local flights

As Abu Dhabi's Rotana Jet launches its first scheduled flights, the domestic carrier plans to expand its services across the UAE.

Rotana Jet will provide flights from Al Bateen airport to Sir Bani Yas Island. Silvia Razgova / The National
Rotana Jet will provide flights from Al Bateen airport to Sir Bani Yas Island. Silvia Razgova / The National

As Abu Dhabi's Rotana Jet launches its first scheduled flights, the domestic carrier plans to expand its services across the UAE.

The airline, which was already operating executive charter flights, has started flying 50-seat planes from Al Bateen Airport in the capital to Sir Bani Yas Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The luxury Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara is located on the island.

Rotana Jet now aims to fly to other emirates, including Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, while flights between Abu Dhabi and Dubai are under consideration.

Rotana Jet, which is not affiliated with the hotel brand, was established in late 2010.

"We are exploring now opportunities, especially from places like Northern Emirates - places like Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah and Al Ain, to connect people out of the international airports within the UAE," said Rajendran Vellapalath, the director of commercial and planning at Rotana Jet.

A connection between Dubai "is something that we are currently working", but this is likely to come at a later stage, he said.

"Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai will take a bit of time because we need to look at the various operational aspects. But between the rest of the emirates, we are planning to commence the operations very soon," he said.

Mr Vellapalath noted that while this was an unexplored market, and the first time a company had offered inter-emirate scheduled flights, there was a business opportunity. "We thought that there was a niche market that we can actually develop."

He said connections from Abu Dhabi to some of the other emirates would start this year.

The services wil target the domestic market and tourists and business travellers coming into the country on international flights, he said.

"As, and when, the business grows, we will be getting more aircraft," he said.

There was previously a seaplane service from Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas Island. This service, which cost Dh650 (US$176) per seat each way, has now stopped, according to the Tourism Development and Investment Company, which is developing Sir Bani Yas Island and owns the resort and seaplanes.

The new service costs about Dh200 each way.

"Our main drive is to support Abu Dhabi tourism," said Mr Vellapalath.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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