Mideast airline orders four Boeing 737s


RAK Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ fourth-biggest carrier, ordered four Boeing Co. 737-800 aircraft and took options on two more planes in a contract valued at $449 million at list prices.

The state-controlled airline, which began flying in November with a leased Boeing aircraft, will take delivery of the planes from the in 2011 and 2012, Chief Operating Officer K Ravindran said today from the carrier’s headquarters in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

RAK is evaluating ways of raising money to fund the purchase, Ravindran said. Payments aren’t due until 2010. The carrier may decide as early as next week on exercising the options for the additional planes, he said.

The airline plans to increase its fleet of leased aircraft to three by April and eight by April 2009. The carrier is the fourth set up by U.A.E. sheikhdoms.

Arab carriers are expected to increase their combined fleet by almost two- thirds to 900 aircraft by 2015 from 550 planes in 2006 as rising oil prices encourage business and leisure travel, according to the airline- industry organization for the region.