Oman’s first low-cost carrier, SalamAir, launched its first direct Muscat-Dubai flight on Sunday. The launch ceremony was presided by Capt Mohammed Ahmed, CEO of SalamAir, in the presence of officials representing the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA), and local media. The response to its debut flight on this sector has been heartening, the CEO said. “Passenger numbers were very encouraging from the outset, which means there is satisfactory demand for SalamAir services,” he remarked. The low-cost airline, headquartered in Oman, now has one direct flight from Muscat to Dubai International Airport (DXB). “We also have an evening weekend flight to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) but by the end of this month, SalamAir will be operating daily morning and evening services,” the CEO said.
Speaking to the Observer, Capt Mohammed said: “SalamAir now flies to three destinations in Oman (Muscat, Suhar and Salalah), two in KSA (Jeddah and Madinah), two in Pakistan (Karachi and Sialkot), and now Dubai.”
“Each of our Airbus 320s can take up to 180 seats, but it has been reduced to 174 to give passengers better comfort,” he said.
Asked about the tariffs, the CEO said: “The price differs according to the market and the day; the earlier you book, the better rate you will get. But our rates will always be competitive to the market price. The trip base fares (Muscat-Dubai) start as low as RO 18, which includes all taxes.”
Passengers are being offered various options such as Light, Friendly and Flexi, he said. “If you opt for the Light option, there will be no changes in dates, ticket is non-refundable in case of cancellation, and only 7 kg of hand baggage is allowed,” he said.
As for competition, Capt Mohammed stated: “We know that there is a challenge for us among airlines going from Muscat to Dubai and vice- versa. But there is a huge demand between these two cities. Our target is to make better options available for passengers so they can have more choice.”
On the carrier’s growth plans, Capt Mohammed said: “We are adding more aircraft — three to four — by next year. We will be offering more destinations to some of the popular destinations, from where people would like to visit Oman. Depending on where the demand is, we will be focusing on destinations that are today under served and not operated by Oman Air.”
SalamAir is owned by Muscat National Development and Investment Company (ASAAS) formed in 2014 as a partnership between the State General Reserve Fund and a number of investment funds, pension funds, and government institutions.
Hammam al Badi