UAE-based carrier RAK Airways will start services from Ras Al-Khaimah to five Indian destinations, including New Delhi and Mumbai from April this year.
"Services to Mumbai, Delhi, Trivandrum, Kochi and Bangalore will start from April," RAK Airways CEO Jack Romero said.
"We have received the air operating certificate from the General Civil Aviation Authority of UAE and aim to start flying in April, as soon as we get the traffic rights to India and Iran," he said on the sidelines of the RAK Development Conference 2007 in Dubai.
The airline will begin operations by using two leased Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
The initial aircraft is only six years old and was previously operated by Iberia, the national carrier of Spain, Romero said.
On the airline's expansion strategy he said, "We are looking to expand by at least two aircraft annually to service the Indian sub-continent, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. By the second year, we will service Russia and CIS countries and in the third year we will open up Europe, including Germany, France, Italy, UK and Scandinavian countries".
The pilots and cabin crew are undergoing training by Lufthansa and will be ready for duty by March 15. The airline's reservation system, aiRES, will be tested live next week, he said.
"According to our very conservative estimates, we will be carrying 2.7 million passengers in five years," Romero added.
RAK Airways is a private joint stock company which has been incorporated into the RAK Investment Authority Free Zone.