On the back of signing a new codeshare deal with Etihad Airways and announcing its first ever GDS participation agreement, RAK Airways chief executive officer, John Brayford sits down with Breaking Travel News 2012 to discuss the United Arab Emirates-based carrier’s planned expansion.
Breaking Travel News: How was Routes 2012 for Rak Airways? Why is it an important event for you?
John Brayford: Routes was very successful in many ways.
Firstly it gave us the opportunity to showcase RAK Airways to a large number of aviation media who were gathered for the event. Secondly it enabled us to forge links with key people from destinations that are in our future plans.
Thirdly it was a perfect opportunity to talk about our Abu Dhabi service and the codeshare agreement with Etihad.
BTN: What were the mains themes to emerge from the aviation forum that were relevant for Rak Airways?
JB: We were very encouraged by the level of interest in RAK Airways from every quarter, whether it was the media, airport teams or other airlines interested in exploring partnership opportunities.
BTN: As the UAE’s newest airlines, what have been the main challenges you have faced in entering the marketplace / creating a new brand?
JB: Raising awareness in the market, giving the public enough reasons to choose RAK Airways when there are many high quality carriers already established in the market.
BTN: What differentiates RAK from other middle eastern carriers?
JB: We offer a quality product, delivered to a high standard at an affordable price.
BTN: You recently signed your first distribution agreement with Travelport. In what ways (if any) has this / will this impact on your business?
JB: It widens our distribution with the travel agency community and so offers our customers better access to our services.
How has RAK Premier been received?
JB: We are delighted with the reception that RAK Premier has received.
In addition to quality and comfort, Business Class passengers are also looking for personal service and value for money and RAK Premier delivers this.
BTN: What are your key growth markets going forward?
JB: In the short term we are concentrating on improving our existing network to give more frequency and better connections.
In the longer term we will grow our regional network and extend our reach through further partnerships.
BTN: Are there any other developments / projects in the pipeline that you would like to touch on?
JB: The third aircraft, which we are hoping to take in March 2013, will help us achieve our short term goals and will signal the expansion of the business that observers have been waiting for.
BTN: Can you provide a future outlook for RAK Airways?
JB: We are all customers and if we pay for something we expect be served professionally, to be recognised and valued. Whilst there are always uncertainties in the future, I believe that if we continue to dedicate ourselves to our customers and deliver quality and value there is a great future for the airline.