Startup Arajet Seeks To Create Santo Domingo Hub
Dominican Republic-based Arajet has started commercial operations, with its inaugural flight connecting Santo Domingo’s Las Americas International (SDQ) with Barranquilla (BAQ) in Colombia.
The airline, previously known as Dominican Wings and later Flycana, will initially fly to eight international destinations over the coming weeks, before gradually scaling up operations to grow to 13 points during October. The ULCC’s official launch will be on Sept. 17, and it hopes to be offering 20 routes by year-end.
CEO Victor Pacheco told Routes that Arajet has focused on cities with strong O&D demand, as well as targeting destinations that are unserved from Santo Domingo. He said that the startup has direct competition on just three of the 20 routes it plans to serve at first.
“We want to fly to 17 points in North America and 54 in Latin America by around 2025,” Pacheco said. “We believe we can connect the Americas via Santo Domingo.
“In the Central America and Caribbean region, the only effective airline is Copa, which operates a hub-and-spoke network through Panama. But there are no carriers in this region doing a hub-and-spoke with a ULCC cost base.”
Alongside Barranquilla, Arajet will offer flights to Aruba (AUA), Cali (CLO) and Cartagena (CTG), in Colombia, Cancun (CUN) in Mexico, Curacao (CUR), Guatemala City (GUA), Lima (LIM) in Peru, Mexico City Santa Lucia (NLU) and Monterrey (MTY) in Mexico, St. Maarten (SXM), San Jose (SJO) in Costa Rica and San Salvador (SAL) in El Salvador by the end of October. Service to Guayaquil (GYE) and Quito (UIO) in Ecuador starts in November.
Arajet has a fleet of leased five Boeing 737-8s, with a further 20 of the denser 737-8200s on order and options for 15 more. Pacheco said the airline hopes to be transporting more than seven million passengers per year by around 2027.
He added that if the carrier is successful at educating governments about the ULCC potential in the Caribbean—thereby getting them to lower taxes and charges levied on aviation—Arajet would need “another 50 aircraft” such is the demand for low-cost service in the region.
The full interview with Victor Pacheco will be in the October issue of Routes magazine, out soon.