SpiceJet will first start flight operations between India and Ras Al Khaimah by early next year and after that establish a new airline in the UAE city, said it's Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh on Wednesday.
"Just like we operate flights to Dubai, we can operate flight to Ras Al Khaimah," he said, adding that while bilateral rights between Indian cities and Ras Al Khaimah are thin, "let us start the flight operations first, let us explore the market, because we believe there are good possibilities".
"From Ras Al Khaimah, there are onward (flight) possibilities to Eastern Europe," he added.
When asked how many aircraft there will be in the new airline, he replied, "We have no idea yet. We are first applying. We are studying the market. At this time, the focus is really on first (starting) the flight into Ras Al Khaimah from India. So that flight we are hoping we can start soon, hopefully by the beginning of next year."
On the question, if starting a new airline will stretch SpiceJet's balance sheet too thin, he said, "Not at all. There are no huge investments. What are the investments in an airline? It's aircraft. That we have here. We are going to put some aircraft over there."
"These guys (foreign airlines) are coming and trying to set up an airline in our country. Why shouldn't we try it the other way around? We should give it a shot," Singh told reporters.
Asked what kind of partners it will have in the new airline, he said, "It will have to be a local partner from Ras Al Khaimah. We are talking to authorities in Ras Al Khaimah."
"No airline anywhere in the world can be owned by a foreign carrier," he said.
He explained, "There is a significant amount of paperwork. It is like applying for an airline in India. You need to show capability, safety. You need to look after a lot of issues."
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