UAE travelers are showing a growing preference for booking flights departing from Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah airports. According to industry experts, passengers increasingly request travel agents for tickets to fly out from the Northern Emirates.
These airports are gaining popularity as they offer more affordable airfares and smoother immigration processes, thanks to fewer crowds.
Sharjah resident Rahmat Ali, who recently flew from out RAK airport to the Indian city of Hyderabad, said he completed his immigration procedures within 20 minutes of entering the airport.
“I opted to fly from RAK to Mumbai as the airfare was quite lower as compared to flying from Dubai and Sharjah. The journey was seamless, and it took (me) no time to go through immigration and other airport formalities,” said Ali.
He added, “When I searched for flights last month, the lowest ticket price from Dubai was Dh680 and from Sharjah, it was Dh590. But from RAK, I got the ticket for Dh400 and the airline provided a free airport shuttle.”
It was a similar scenario for Yasmeen Ansari, a Sharjah resident who arrived from Lahore at the RAK airport last Thursday. “There were no queues at the airport. The experience was quick and hassle-free, with a shorter wait time. The stress of travel was actually very minimal,” said Yasmeen.
Another expat from Pakistan, Eeman Malik, who arrived with her family from Lahore at RAK Airport, saved nearly Dh700 on five tickets. “I travelled with my mother and sisters on a visit to Dubai. The process at the airport was quick and we were out in 20 minutes. My father was at the airport to pick us up. We drove nearly 100 kilometres in just an hour to reach our home,” Eeman said.
Low-cost airline SalamAir recently launched a new route from Fujairah Airport to Muscat, which has quickly become the preferred choice for people who want to make the tourist visa change run.
Additionally, the airline offers affordable flights to multiple destinations from Fujairah via Muscat. Starting next month, the airline will offer a promotional fare of just Dh361 for flights from the emirate to Kozhikkode in the south Indian state of Kerala.
Travel agents say these airports are a seamless and cost-effective alternative compared to the busy neighboring ports. Shaikh Abdulla, visa in charge and manager at Al Jazeera Travels, said: “One of the factors contributing to the increasing popularity of these airports is the availability of flights to preferred destinations at attractive airfares. These airports are slowly turning into hubs for affordable flights to various international destinations. Many travelers are finding that by flying from Fujairah or RAK, they get considerable savings.”
Experts say that the RAK airport is a preferred choice for budget-conscious tourists. Ranju Abraham, sales manager at Tours on Board, said, “RAK airport is connected to many international destinations with direct and connecting flights.”
Airlines like Indigo and Air Arabia are very well connected with direct flights to many sectors in India, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh. “One can even opt to fly to cities in Turkey, the UK, Syria, Maldives, Switzerland, and many European countries via connecting flights from here,” said Abraham.
Experts highlighted the fact that Salam Air, operating from Fujairah, is introducing attractive deals and shorter journey times. “Salam Air is growing its network to and from Fujairah rapidly and is being connected to many sectors via Muscat. Many travelers to south Indian cities opt for this option due to lower airfares, and the journey time is just an hour or two extra,” said Abraham.
Tourism and business travelers
Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah are the gateway to unexplored territories in the country with picturesque landscapes, historical attractions, and much more. Experts say that tourists are increasingly choosing to explore these unique destinations. “Development in Ras Al Khaimah is at a fast pace and many international business travelers are seen flying in and out of the emirate. The RAK and Fujairah airports are facilitating their travel,” said Abdullah.
Reaching these airports
Several airlines have introduced shuttle bus services connecting Dubai and Sharjah to these Northern airports, streamlining city transportation for arriving passengers.
“Indigo Airlines have introduced free bus service to its passengers from Union bus Station to Ras Al Khaimah airport at 6.30 am and the return journey at 7 pm,” said Abdullah.
“Similarly, Salam Air has also introduced a bus service to and from Fujairah airport from Sharjah’s King Faisal Mosque,” added Abdullah.