Ras Al Khaimah International Airport will invest AED2m (US$544,500) upgrading its airport terminal as it looks to boost passenger traffic to 2m in the next three years, the airport's director told Arabian Business.
The airport is currently in talks with several low cost carriers from India, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka to expand their routes to the emirate, said Andrew Gower.
“The build we are doing now will take our capacity to two million [passengers] from half a million. In terms of terminal development [we’re going to invest] in the region of AED2m; that’s a combination of building, roads, car park layouts, everything,” he said.
“We are in the process of preparing tender documents with a view to it being completed in 18-24 months from now,” he added.
Ras Al Khaimah, which unlike neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi does not have abundant energy resources, is ramping up its investment in hotels as it moves to boost its economy.
The emirate is hoping that tourism will make up 20 percent of its economy by 2021 and generate in excess of US$1bn a year.
European football giant Real Madrid earlier in the month announced it had chosen RAK’s Marjan Island as the site for a US$1bn branded theme park. The 50-hectare ‘Real Madrid Resort Island, slated to open in January 2015, will include a theme park, stadium as well as residential and luxury hotel facilities.
The emirate is also building an AED700m Waldorf Astoria hotel and will open an all-inclusive AED500m resort operated by Turkish operator this year.
In 2009, the government relaunched its flag carrier RAK Airways, offering cheap flights to countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt in a bid to tap the regional travel market.
RAK airport is currently in talks with several low cost carriers and Russian charter airlines, said Gower. “One of our clear markets that we are going to look at is low cost. We are in talks with several low cost carriers from India, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka,” he said.
“In terms of capacity in the UAE we know Dubai is full, Abu Dhabi is full, Sharjah is full - not just on the ground but in the air – but the one thing RAK does give is ample capacity with no slot restrictions.
“Some of the Russian charters are also exploring the opportunities to come in, knowing that there is a demand developing,” he added.