MUSCAT, July 17 – Creation of jobs and attracting tourists — which will contribute to the GDP — are priorities for SalamAir, the first locally grown budget airline, which has expanded its fleet by adding six new Airbus A320neo aircraft. A large number of tourists from both Asia and Europe are expected to visit the Sultanate via SalamAir, while a large number of local workforce can look forward to working with the carrier. Speaking to Observer from Farnborough, Captain Mohamed Ahmed, CEO of SalamAir, said the addition of A320neo will back Oman’s tourism initiatives. “With one Airbus A320neo by fourth quarter of 2018 and five Airbus A320neo by first quarter of 2019, we are expecting a major shift in the way tourism has been promoted in the country.
“Budget-conscious travellers are going to make use of the new service as we will also expand our network to 12 more destinations, taking our total number of destinations to 27,” he said.
He said the new services will also cater to the growing demand for budget travel in the Sultanate and the region as a whole.
With three existing aircraft, SalamAir has been serving 15 destinations, including the recently-added Georgia and Azerbaijan, besides its regional and Pakistan sectors.
The airline will also increase its frequency to existing destinations such as Salalah, Multan, Sialkot and Shiraz as well as launch new routes throughout the GCC, including Kuwait City and Riyadh.
“We carry a large number of tourists from these countries and back and this has helped us consider increasing the frequencies to these destinations.”
At present, nearly 65 per cent of the SalamAir workforce consists of Omanis.
Once the new aircraft are deployed and sectors multiply, the number of people working for the carrier is expected to see a further double-digit growth.
“We need more Omani manpower across all departments. It will be a relief for the job market as fresh graduates are registering themselves with Ministry of Manpower and National Registry on a daily basis,” said Captain Mohamed.