SpiceJet, the low-cost Indian airline, has announced its intention to build its very first international hub in the United Arab Emirates.
The announcement, which was made on Wednesday, revealed that the new hub will give support to the troubled Boeing Co. by making use of the currently grounded 737 Max aircraft in its operation, after they have been approved for flight by regulators.
The hub will be situated in the northern sheikdom of Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE.
Ajay Singh, the managing director and chairman of SpiceJet, says that the second-biggest airline in India will be using the hub in order to have its range extended all the way to Western Europe.
December will see the beginning of SpiceJet flights from New Delhi to Ras-al Khaimah, according to Singh.
The move could help to bring more visitors to the sand dunes of Ras-al Khaimah, which has a small airport that pales next to the enormous Dubai International Airport.
However, previous efforts to revive the airport have resulted in failure, and there are already a number of other low-cost carriers in the UAE.
Ras al-Khaimah International Airport’s CEO Sanjay Khanna says that they are not attempting to compete with other airports but are simply complimenting them and growing their own.
Singh regained control of SpiceJet in 2015 after the airline nearly collapsed due to financial troubles and has since been attempting to expand the enterprise.
It now operates a fleet of 111 Bombardier and Boeing aeroplanes and offers flights to over 50 destinations in India as well as a small number of international routes such as Dubai.
Up to five more Boeing 737 Max aircraft could be based permanently out of the new airport and flying Western and Eastern Europe routes, Singh claims.
SpiceJet has already taken ownership of no less than seven Max aeroplanes out of a total of 136 in a deal that would once have been valued in the billions.
The terms of the new deal have not yet been publically discussed by officials, though Singh has described Ras al-Khaimah as a “hidden jewel”.
Boeing has also been praised by Singh as it attempts to have the 737 Max allowed back in the air after deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people on the two planes.
All of the planes have been grounded all over the world since March.
Boeing, which is based in Chicago in the US, has already had to take a $5.6bn pre-tax charge over the summer in order to cover compensation for airlines cancelling thousands of flights due to the grounded planes.
Cancelled flights can also be costly to individual travellers, which is one of the reasons why it is so important to take out travel insurance.
Anyone wanting to fly to India or the UAE should also take out travel insurance, which can offer financial protection against other issues such as lost luggage and in some cases even medical expenses in the event of illness or accidents.