Aviation scene picking up in Salalah

By Kaushalendra Singh — SALALAH: Jan 29 – The aviation scene is picking up in Salalah with the operation of new airlines on this sector, while many more are exploring the possibility. The interest shown by the airlines substantiates the government’s projections which states 40 per cent increase in air traffic demand by 2019. Not many years ago, Salalah only had a few Oman Air Muscat-Salalah-Muscat flights daily and Air India flights were operating to two South Indian destinations weekly from the old airport.
One or two charter flights from some Scandinavian countries would excite the local taxi operators and tour managers.
The scene started changing from 2013 when Qatar Airways and FlyDubai began Salalah operations and opened new vistas in the sector.
The residents of Salalah now had more options to fly directly to new destinations with the launch of direct flights to Doha and Dubai sectors by Qatar Airways and Flydubai respectively.
In addition to them Air Arabia increased flight frequency in addition to Oman Air’s four weekly flights to Dubai.
By 2016 there were not less than 83 weekly flights operating from new Salalah Airport including 10-12 weekly charter flights coming from different European destinations.
The numbers are likely to go up this year with the scheduled operation of SalamAir and Salalah Air.
The first quarter of 2017 is looking bright for Salalah aviation sector with the arrival of SalamAir’s first flight from Muscat to Salalah on Monday.
A SalamAir source claimed that “flights between Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport will commence on February 15 with two daily flights.”
Going by the break up, Oman Air has 8 to 18 daily flights from Muscat to Salalah depending on demand.
Normally it has eight flights daily which goes up to 12 when demand is high and during the peak (khareef) season it goes up to 18 flights.
Among the weekly flights, there are two Air India flights for Southern Indian state of Kerala, two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flights for Lahore, 12 Qatar Airways flights for Doha and then connecting flights from there for many other destinations, five FlyDubai flights for Dubai, five Air Arabia flights for Sharjah, and 10-12 charter flights from various European countries.
Operating as a low cost carrier, SalamAir is going to be the game changer due to its price tag for Salalah-Muscat-Salalah sector.
SalamAir is the first domestic low cost carrier in Oman and is likely to bring fierce price war among the airlines.
A round trip Salalah-Muscat-Salalah fare of RO 30 announced by SalamAir has excited every air traveller in Salalah.
“If allowed to fly on Salalah-Dubai sector, the airlines would surely be a great value addition as both inbound and outbound traffic would increase due to likely cheap fares,” said a Salalah-based travel agent.
Yet another airline, Salalah Air is waiting in the wings.
The first private carrier has ambitious plans to start charter operations to several destinations in the region.