Low cost Middle East airline shuts down leaving passengers stranded
Confusion reigns among travel agents and passengers of RAK Airways after the low-cost airline announced the suspension of all operations from January 1 according to an article in Gulf News.
Mohammad Aslam, who flew into the UAE from Calicut, Kerala, last month and had a return ticket with the airline on January 4, said he and his family have been left stranded.
“We had bought three return tickets for Rs42,000 (about Dh2,500) through a travel agent in India. I got a mail from them the other day informing me of potential changes to the schedule. Now I have no idea what lies ahead,” said the 30-year-old technical writer based in Bengaluru, India.
“My only worry is whether I will be able to make it to Calicut on time because I have onward bookings,” he said.
An agent at a reputed travel agency said she had no clue about the latest developments.
“We don’t handle that many tickets for RAK Airways, but when we issue a ticket, and if it’s cancelled for some reason, we are always notified in advance. I had no idea that they had suspended their flights,” she said.
The online booking on the company’s website yields ‘no flights available’. However, in a statement on the last day of 2013 the Ras Al Khaimah-based company said: “The decision for suspending operations was taken following increased pressures on the carrier’s performance due to continuous market conditions, increased operating costs and the impact of the regional political instability on the overall aviation industry.
‘‘The board of directors took the decision today [Tuesday] to suspend the operations until further notice. We believe this decision is in the best interest of the airline and its shareholders. We will take this time to re-evaluate the best options available for RAK Airways’ future as well as those that fit the industry requirements of the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.”
Several calls to RAK Airways main office went unanswered, but when XPRESS contacted the company’s authorized agent in Dubai, a staff confirmed that their contract with the agency had been terminated on December 30.
“We have stopped taking all kinds of booking and cancellation requests for them. We have asked all customers since morning to contact the RAK city office for refunds. We have nothing to do with them anymore,” he told XPRESS.