Rotana Jet Aviation of Abu Dhabi is the first scheduled airline to fly the ERJ 145 in the Middle East. The company acquired two of the regional jets last year and started domestic flights to several cities within the United Arab Emirates in September of 2012. The aircraft link Abu Dhabi’s Al-Bateen Executive and International Airports with Sir Bani Yas Island, Dalma, Fujairah and Al Ain. Future plans call for the addition of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah to the network.
Rotana Jet received two ERJ 145s from Air France subsidiary Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européene in March 2012 and launched the airline three months later. The move to regional jets is part of a strategy to broaden the company’s services from charter flying with a Gulfstream G450 and a specially-configured Airbus A319 to regularly scheduled airline flights.
Although the distances within the UAE are short, Rotana Jet believes the smaller, 50-seat capacity of the ERJ 145s will be an attractive alternative to road travel. The range capability of the aircraft gives the airline the ability to link city pairs within the GCC and throughout the MENA region.
According to Embraer’s Market Outlook 2012-2031, 75% of Middle Eastern regional markets are still either served indirectly or with fewer than two daily frequencies. With an average 7% forecasted annual air traffic growth rate, the region shows some potential for short-haul start-ups like Rotana Jet.