Dubai-Abu Dhabi flights cheaper than taxi

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Rotana Jet flights between emirate and capital from Thursday, one-way costing Dh150

A one-way airline ticket is cheaper than a taxi between Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

In the case of Rotana Jet, this is indeed the bargain, as the carrier launches its thrice-weekly flights between the two emirates from August 1, with fares starting at Dh150 for a one-way sector.

A Roads and Transport Authority registered taxi fare can range anywhere between Dh250-Dh300, depending on the drop off point in the capital.

The flights will operate between Dubai’s Terminal Two and Al Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Rotana Jet’s Commercial and Planning Director, Rajendran Vellapalath, said: “With the introduction of these flights, we are targeting an untapped market, with business travellers and tourists forming the bulk of our passengers.”

Specifically targeting the tourist market, Rotana Jet is also launching flights from Dubai to Sir Bani Yas Island on the same date with a surge in demand.

He continued: “Earlier in June, we launched the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain and Delma Island flights, which have proven quite successful. But the feedback we received from our tour operators suggested an Abu Dhabi-Dubai route was also in high demand so we listened to our passengers and are launching this service.”

When quizzed, Vellapalath also confirmed that Rotana Jet has partnerships with interline airlines such as Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Gulf Air, to provide connecting domestic flights for travellers, “especially the corporates that visit on turnaround trips and are looking for a fast way to commute across the country for business meetings.”

Talks are also on with Emirates, Middle East’s largest carrier, to pen such an interline agreement, said Vellapalath.

Dh150 fares?

With starting one-way fares at Dh150, Vellapalath doesn’t deny the competitive nature of the pricing.

“Yes, the airfare is cheaper than taking a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, which can range between Dh250-Dh300 easily,” Vellapalath said. “Our plan was never to alienate the regular commuters by structuring steep fares.

“Even our popular Abu Dhabi-Fujairah flights cost between Dh200 and Dh300, which is cheaper than a three-hour taxi ride that can easily cross Dh650 one way.”

Plus, frequent passengers can also purchase flight coupons, which can garner an additional 25 per cent discount on the published fares.

However, with fuel historically making up for 35-40 per cent of a carrier’s total cost, can rising costs eventually affect fares in the long run?

Quiz Vellapalath and he doesn’t rule out the possibility, however, adding: “As capacity increases, we should be able to offset such rises.”

A 50-seat Embraer Jet aircraft will be utilised on the route, Vellapalath stating: “It should take us six months to reach between 80-90 per cent passenger capacity on our flights.”

Also on the flightplan is connectivity to Ras Al Khaimah, he confirmed.

Vellapalath added that the airline will take delivery of a “couple” of new aircraft in October.

Island tourism

In a bid to boost Abu Dhabi’s island tourism, passengers will also utilise the 50-seat Embraer Jet aircraft from Dubai to Sir Bani Yas Island from August 1.

The Dubai-Sir Bani Yas Island flights will also operate thrice weekly, on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Ahmed Al Fahim, Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, Sales and Leasing at TDIC, said in a statement: “The launch of the Dubai to Sir Bani Yas flight follows our recent announcement of increased flights by Rotana Jet from Abu Dhabi to the island, reflecting its ever-increasing popularity as an exceptional destination in the UAE.

“This is also evident with the recent opening of the Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort, Sir Bani Yas, our latest development on the island.”

Sir Bani Yas also features the Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, with tourists and residents flocking to the island for a weekend away and a chance to indulge in various activities, ranging from a nature and wildlife safari to diving.

Additionally, the island also serves as a weekend away for UAE residents and tourists looking for pampering with the Anantara Spa.

Of late, the island is also pitching itself to business travellers for corporate activities.

Established in 2011, Rotana Jet group offers scheduled passenger air services, executive private charters, cargo and aircraft engineering.

Last year, the airline became the UAE’s first domestic carrier with the inauguration of services between Al-Bateen Airport and Sir Bani Yas Island.

Rotana Jet currently operates scheduled flights to Delma Island, Fujairah and Al Ain, in addition to Sir Bani Yas Island.

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