Muscat: Oman’s first budget airline – SalamAir – is planning to launch direct flights to India.
This announcement comes after the government of Oman and India revised their flight agreement in December 2016, when the numbers of weekly seats was increased to 27,405 seats for both countries, compared to 21,145 seats, an increase of 6,258 seats per week.
Speaking to Times of Oman, François Bouteiller, chief executive officer (CEO) of SalamAir said, “We are expecting to fly to India. The process is that the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has negotiated on behalf of SalamAir and Oman Air for additional capacity to India. But until now, India hasn’t specified where they will allocate this additional capacity. So, once India specifies, PACA will distribute the new allocation of these seats through Oman Air and SalamAir,” he told Times of Oman on Wednesday.
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Bouteiller refused to name any Indian destinations, at this stage. “I don’t know where we will be allowed to fly. I don’t want to say that we are going to New Delhi, and what happens if India doesn’t allot us additional seats to New Delhi? My wish is one thing, and what I will be allowed to do is another thing. So, we are waiting for India to allocate these seats, and then for PACA to distribute these seats,” he said.
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SalamAir plans to connect Muscat with Salalah and Dubai, initially. Then it is looking at launching flights to Jeddah and more Gulf countries in the next few months.
He also said that SalamAir’s second aircraft will arrive in Muscat before it launches Dubai flights on February 15. “Right now, its interior is being refurbished in a neighbouring country,” he said. He said there is a tremendous response from people, ever since they began booking the flights. “The response has been very positive from travel agents and the public, and the first flight to Salalah on January 30 is filling up quickly,” he said. Oman’s first budget airline is offering tickets to Salalah for OMR 11, and Dubai is OMR 16.6.
SalamAir has introduced three easy fare options- light, friendly and flexi. Light fares have been designed for customers who travel light and only require hand baggage.
Next is the friendly fare, which includes 20kg of checked luggage plus 7kg of hand baggage. For maximum passenger convenience and value, Flexifares have all the advantages of Friendly, along with priority check-in and the possibility to change flights at no extra cost.
Awarded its air service operator licence by the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) in early 2016, SalamAir’s fleet of three Airbus A320s is scheduled to take to the skies beginning January 30. The brainchild of ASAAS—a national investment and development company—SalamAir was formed to meet Oman’s rapidly growing demand for air traffic, which is expected to grow 40 per cent by 2019.