Ras Al Khaimah: Gearing up for expansion
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Posted: 11 April 2022 | Ivana Meyer | No comments yet
Despite the high volatility driven by imposed protocols related to COVID-19, 2021 was a record-breaking year for Ras Al Khaimah International Airport in terms of passenger traffic. For International Airport Review, Ivana Meyer, Head of Quality & Customer Experience at Ras Al Khaimah, details the airport’s long-term strategy, as it looks to expand this growth post COVID-19.
2021 saw Ras Al Khaimah International Airport (RKT) cross the half a million mark in passenger traffic for the first time in its 45-year history. Owing to the air transport arrangements entered between the Asian subcontinent and GCC countries, the second half of 2021 provided Ras Al Khaimah International Airport with a massive 120 per cent increase in daily movements that were handled successfully.
Aligning airport growth with tourism
The medium to long-term strategy for Ras Al Khaimah is to become a niche airport, aligning its focus on the growing tourism industry of the Ras Al Khaimah emirate which is predicted to reach three million tourists by 2025, especially with the fast-growing developments of tourist resorts.
An aggressive boost in hospitality and tourism is aligning the emirate with world-renowned resorts. Wynn Resorts is embarking on a multi-billion-dollar investment into a development project in Ras Al Khaimah, which will be their ‘first property in the MENA region and the first beach resort globally, comprising of a 1000+ rooms world-class hotel, entertainment, and gaming amenities in a location only 15 minutes away from Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’ (reported by the United Arab Emirates’ official WAM news agency).
Centrally positioned with its proximity to Europe, Africa, and Asia, Ras Al Khaimah has a strategy to become a thriving cargo hub, utilising its strategic crossroads location for creating a bridge between the Asian market in the East and European and African markets on the West and South. Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’s geographical location offers opportunities for business expansions to other service providers, such as MRO and FBO.
Gearing up for expansion
Aside from the tourism prospects, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is gearing up for an expansion that is directly aligned with the growth of Ras Al Khaimah’s economy, which fosters business opportunities in various sectors, from manufacturing, construction, financial, and e-commerce.
Ras Al Khaimah has a strategy to become a thriving cargo hub, utilising its strategic crossroads location for creating a bridge between the Asian market in the East and European and African markets on the West and South.
To keep up with the growing demand, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is increasing capacity and enhancing passenger experience by embarking on a major two-phase airport expansion. The immediate focus is on the rejuvenation of the existing terminal and establishing a bus service with other cities; easily accessible and affordable connectivity for people to commute to, and from, the airport, as part of the added value service provided in its catchment area. In addition to offering convenience, affordability, comfort, and ease for passengers to travel onwards to their destination, this bus connectivity will undoubtedly bring more airline traffic to the airport, increasing connectivity with other airports.
Keeping health a top priority
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is proud to be part of only over 600 airports globally holding the ACI Airport Health Accreditation which sets out measurable global standards in line with the best industry practices as recommended by the ICAO, EASA, and other regulatory health and safety protocols.
To keep up with the growing demand, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is increasing capacity and enhancing passenger experience.
With this accreditation, the airport is not only demonstrating to its users; the passengers, stakeholders, customers, and employees, that health and safety are one of Ras Al Khaimah International Airport’s top priorities. It is emphasising that the airport is a safe environment and as such contributes towards the recovery of the aviation industry and economy of Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE.
Sustainable and digital aims
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport aims to become a carbon-free airport by 2026 in accordance with Airports Council International (ACI) programme based on phased initiatives. The first of four phases will begin in 2022/2023, at which point Ras Al Khaimah International Airport will start implementing these initiatives.
As part of the airport’s innovation drive to become a smart airport, Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has partnered with TAV Technologies to develop best-in-class digital technologies for passengers and tourists visiting Ras Al Khaimah’s top range hotels, tourist attraction centres, and RAK International Airport. Without doubt, digitalisation will revolutionise the passenger experience by sharing information between aviation stakeholders.
Ras Al Khaimah International Airport is looking to the future, as it looks to expand its offering to the benefit of passengers, tourism and its local area, in the post-COVID-19 era of air travel.
Ivana Meyer’s passion for aviation started at a very young age with her vision of working in the aviation industry. Over 35 years and three continents later Meyer is still equally in love with aviation in her current role as the Head of Quality and Customer Experience at Ras Al Khaimah International Airport. It is this role where she plays an instrumental role in the airport expansion while focusing on compliance, improving the quality, and the customers’ experience.
Airport development, Capacity, COVID-19, Digital transformation, Passenger experience and seamless travel, Passenger volumes, Sustainability, Sustainable development, Tourism