RAK considers options for fleet and network expansion

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Middle Eastern carrier RAK Airways is expecting to give further details of a possible fleet expansion in the fourth quarter, having committed to a strategic plan to develop its route network.

The airline operates two leased Airbus A320s but indicates that it wants to increase the fleet before next year.

Based at Ras Al Khaimah, one of the United Arab Emirates, RAK Airways is aiming to reach 40 destinations by 2015. Its route network covers nine cities in the Middle East and south-east Asia.

RAK plans to disclose five new destinations "shortly". It has recently increased services to Dhaka, Peshawar and Lahore and is raising frequency to Jeddah.

"We are on a determined destination growth plan and more aircraft in the fleet is very important," the airline says.

RAK Airways chief Murabit Al Sawaf says the airline has an "ambitious" growth plan and that it wants to roll it out "in a short span of time".

It claims to have carried 40% more passengers over the first half of this year, compared with the first six months of 2012.

"New aircraft will join the fleet before the end of this year," says Al Sawaf.

The airline has confirmed comments by Al Sawaf that the A320 as well as the Boeing 737-800 and Bombardier CSeries are contenders for the expansion.

"We will be able to release more details towards the next quarter and in the first quarter of 2014," the carrier adds.