Ras Al Khaimah International Airport today announced that it has helped secure the return home of more than 53,000 Indian citizens since the beginning of June, in part thanks to His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, who issued a directive to cover the full cost of transport to the airport for any Indian expatriate from across the UAE who is looking to return home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Operating special repatriation flights conducted in conjunction with the Indian Government and Indian carrier SpiceJet, RAK Airport’s concerted efforts to assist Indian nationals to return home on completion of their employment contracts has propelled it to the fore of the UAE’s repatriation efforts. 

“The UAE is sparing no effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all its people and Ras Al Khaimah is part of the country’s drive to be at the forefront of the global response to this pandemic,” said His Highness Sheikh Saud. 

“Our Emirate is a longstanding friend of the Indian Government and its honorable people and we are always ready to help. With this in mind, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has been playing an important role in the Indian Government’s initiative to repatriate its residents. SpiceJet and RAK Airport staff have shown great dedication in their work and for this I am truly grateful,” His Highness added.

“RAK Airport commenced special charter evacuation flights at the beginning of June and to date has flown back Indians and their families in almost 300 flights operated by SpiceJet. These operations continue with a strong vision and commitment to help Indian nationals to reunite with their loved ones and families back home. The tremendous support we have received from His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Indian Ambassador and Consul General, and our airline partner Spice Jet, has facilitated us to serve stranded Indians and enable then to travel home seamlessly and effortlessly,” said Sanjay Khanna, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to multiple authorities and government bodies in UAE and India and all our airport staff and associates who have worked – and continue to work - tirelessly to enable these repatriation flights to take place. To say that it is an honour to lead such a dedicated and committed team would be an understatement – I am immensely proud of them all,” he added.

The special charter flights operated by SpiceJet are returning up to 185 passengers a time to 21 destinations across India; Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Calicut, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Gaya, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kannur, Lucknow, Madurai, Mangalore, New Delhi, Tiruchirappalli, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. A value airline, SpiceJet operates 630 daily flights to 64 destinations from its hubs at Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and is India’s second largest airline by number of domestic passengers carried.

“SpiceJet is an integral part of the Indian community and is committed to serving its members irrespective of where they are located in the world. As soon as this pandemic struck, we worked with RAK Airport to lay on dedicated flights to help stranded workers return home. I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, for supporting us in our endeavour, which has served to further cement the already strong bonds that India enjoys with Ras Al Khaimah,” said Ajay Singh, CMD SpiceJet.

“I also want to express my admiration for all the team members at SpiceJet and RAK Airport, including the pilots, aircraft crew, ground staff, and other employees, many of whom are working overtime to ensure everyone who wanted to could be accommodated on the flights,” he added.

Less than an hour from Dubai and Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport serves the Northern Emirates of Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah, with the northern parts of Dubai also in its catchment area. Having raised its profile with the Indian community during the current coronavirus pandemic, the airport is anticipating an expansion to its operations post-Covid-19 and once air travel resumes to full capacity.

Among the many advantages that Ras Al Khaimah International Airport promotes over other UAE passenger airports are its cost savings for travelers and the fact that it has no slot restrictions, meaning that airlines are not obliged to have to accept slots made available to them, as is often the case at other hubs.

Source: RAK Media Office