With a fragrance of frankincense and a mist of the Khareef, Salalah Airport received on Tuesday morning the first direct flight of Etihad Airways, which will operate twice a week between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the city of Salalah during Khareef tourist season in Dhofar. The first inaugural flight of Etihad Airways was greeted in the land of Salalah Airport when the airplane arrived; also gifts were distributed to passengers.
Salem al Yafie, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Salalah Airport, as well as a number of officials from the airport and Amman airports greeted the flight. Al Yafie welcomed the inauguration of Etihad Airways flights, and added that “they will boost the tourist season activity in Dhofar, a famous summer destination thanks to its unique weather, during khareef, which is one of the most important touristic seasons for tourist groups coming mainly from Gulf countries.”
Al Yafie pointed out that, “the arrival of these direct flights bolstered, on the one hand, the tourism sector in Dhofar, and on the other, proved the increasing demand of these airlines on the importance of Salalah as a tourist attraction, in addition to the services Salalah Airport provides for airlines and passengers.” He added: This year, we expect that the tourist season in Dhofar will face an increase of inbound flights and tourists to the governorate.
The airline will operate its A320 aircraft to do four flights on a weekly basis to Salalah from July 2 to August 31. Flights from Abu Dhabi will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:05 AM and arrive at 10:00 AM, allowing guests to start early their vacation in Khareef.
For his part, Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Salalah is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Sultanate of Oman. Khareef is characterised by the dense green mat spread between mountains and coasts in addition to the flow of waterfalls and stretch of valleys transforming the city into a green paradise.
Our seasonal journey will allow our guests to arrive, within two hours after take-off from Abu Dhabi, at an exceptional destination during the best times of the year for a short or long holiday.”
The airline will be operating 25 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman after adding the seasonal flights, including 21 trips to Muscat and four trips to Salalah.
Salalah Airport has become amongst the regional airports attracting international airlines. It is worth noting that Salalah Airport received 2019 Skytrax Award for achieving a 5-star rating in the regional airports’ category, making it the first regional airport in the Middle East and the world’s fourth highest-ranking airport in this category. The award was received earlier this year at Skytrax Awards ceremony in London.
In its first participation in the Airports Council International (ACI) passenger satisfaction survey, Salalah Airport scored the 8th globally among 71 airports in the category of 2 million travellers.
The total number of passengers travelling through the airport by the end of April 2018 reached 442,059, a rise of 2 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.