Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | Rabi' al-awwal 11, 1445 H
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Will air travel to Salalah become affordable this year?


The so-called exorbitant airfares on the Salalah-Muscat sector have been always a point of contention among passengers, especially those travelling with families during the peak Khareef months.

These airfares force visitors to Salalah to take to the road and the long drive on the 1,000-km stretch has often turned out to be fatal for some motorists and their families. Overspeeding, fatigue and low visibility during rains are often cited as the main reasons for these unfortunate incidents.

At the time of writing this report on Thursday, the one-way fare to and from Salalah starts from RO 30 on the budget airline SalamAir and RO 50 on the full-fledge Oman Air.

At its inception, the low-cost SalamAir promised fares starting at around RO 15, but very soon the average continue to be around RO 25-30 for a one-way ticket.

On Thursday, Oman Airports confirmed that it will implement the Royal Directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik on providing direct subsidies on fuel prices at Salalah Airport, equivalent to the fuel prices at Muscat International Airport, with immediate effect.

Foreign airlines operating from Salalah include Air Arabia, Jazeera Airways, Flynas, and Wizz Air among others and some people argued that ticket fares from Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Sharjah are much cheaper than flying from Muscat.

A number of regular passengers, including Khareef visitors, hoped that airlines will be forced to reduce prices with this directive, which will also help to reduce the number of road accidents.

A travel company executive, said, “Travelling to Salalah by air is a costly affair for families during Khareef, and that forces passengers to travel by road. One of the main reasons for high fares seems to be the lack of competition and low capacity. With these new decisions, airlines will be encouraged to add more services to the sector while foreign airlines will be able to get more tourists from abroad.” Oman Airports said that these directives from His Majesty the Sultan are aimed at facilitating tourism by increasing the number of flights to and from Dhofar Governorate by airlines as competition will lower ticket prices for citizens and residents and all categories of travellers to the governorate.

Salalah Airport, which can handle two million passengers annually and up to 6 million after future expansions, sees 75 weekly domestic and international arrival flights during the non-Khareef seasons.

Salalah has a monsoon season that is not common in other places in the Sultanate and the region and the best time to visit is from June to August.

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