Dominican ULCC Startup Arajet To Debut In May

Credit: Boeing

Santo Domingo (SDQ), Dominican Republic-based Arajet—which bills itself as the Caribbean’s first ULCC—plans to launch services in May and aims to grow its fleet to as many as 40 aircraft, bolstered by an order for 20 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that was revealed March 14.

Backed by investment firm Bain Capital and lessor Griffin Global Asset Management, Arajet will start with operations from its SDQ base with flights to Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, an announcement by the Dominican Republic’s Junta de Aviation Civil (JAC) regulator said. Arajet's plans call for expanding its route network quickly, including flights to the US, which are slated to start in the second half of 2022.

Arajet’s ultimate target is to operate 43 routes, including 24 that are currently not served, JAC said.

JAC in November approved Arajet to serve a variety of international destinations, including airports in Aruba, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago and the US.

Arajet's first aircraft, a 737-8 leased from Griffin, was delivered in early March. The airline and Boeing revealed that Arajet is behind a 20-aircraft order added to the manufacturer’s books in January that was not linked to a specific customer. That deal is for 20 737-8200 aircraft, first ordered by European ULCC Ryanair, and includes options for 15 more MAX-family variants. Deliveries will be spread “over the next several years,” Bain said in a statement.

"The efficient Boeing 737 MAX, together with financial and operational support from our partners at Griffin and Bain Capital, gives us the solid foundation necessary to provide flights at affordable prices to travelers in the region," Arajet founder Victor Pacheco Mendez said. "These partners believe in our vision and see the same bright future for this market and beyond.”

Pacheco and Mike Powell, the former Wizz Air CFO, will lead the airline.

Sean Broderick

Senior Air Transport & Safety Editor Sean Broderick covers aviation safety, MRO, and the airline business from Aviation Week Network's Washington, D.C. office.