RAK Airways 'in no way closing' - new CEO

EXCLUSIVE: Company chief says exploring all options, admits situation 'difficult'.
RAK Airways 'in no way closing' - new CEO
FLIGHT PATH: The new CEO of RAK Airways denied media reports on Sunday that the airline was closing down.
By Rob Morris
Sun 31 May 2009 02:28 PM

The new CEO of troubled carrier RAK Airways said on Sunday the airline was in “no way closing” following reports its operations and services had stopped.

Speaking exclusively to Arabian Business, Kristian Kirchheiner said the carrier was still operating charter flights after dropping scheduled services in late 2008.

RAK Airways’ chairman Sheikh Omar bin Saqr Al Qasimi was quoted earlier on Sunday by Business 24/7 as saying that scheduled flights had been suspended for commercial reasons. He also said there was no point keeping the airline in business, according to the newspaper.

But Kirchheiner, who joined RAK Airways on May 18, said that while commercial services have been suspended he was exploring all opportunities for the airline going forward.

“We are working on a plan for the future, which I can’t really disclose at this point in time, so the company is in no way closing,” he said.

“My job is to explore the possibilities for the company, and obviously we have looked at the positives and also the constraints. This situation is difficult but we will come up with a proposal and a plan within a month’s time.”

Kirchheiner declined to comment on what proposals were being considered for the airline, which suspended commercial flights in response to the financial crisis.

While scheduled services have been dropped, RAK Airways still operates charter flights on a wet lease basis to Hewa Bora Airlines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The service is operated from Kinshasa to Paris, Brussels and Johannesburg, according to Kirchheiner.

A wet lease involves one airline providing a plane, all crew, maintenance and insurance to another.

The airline was established in 2006 to support Ras Al Khaimah’s economic development, according to its website.

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