MUscat: Francois Bouteiller, CEO of SalamAir, Oman’s first budget airline, expressed concerns over congestions at the Muscat International Airport.
“What bothers us more is the congestion that you have in certain areas, and more specifically, the ramp size. Parking for the aircraft is an issue. When you arrive at the airport, you are transported by bus, which is not ideal,”said the airline's CEO.
Watch: Lunchtime with Salam Air CEO
He further added, “I don’t have an issue with the bus transfer service as such.
“The problem is the distance between the terminal and (the place) where the aircraft is parked. We want to make sure that the aircraft is at a reasonable distance from the terminal so that passengers can come out from the airport quickly and vice versa (reach the aircraft from the terminal quickly).”
However, he said he was looking forward to the “swanky” new terminal at the Muscat International Airport.
“It (the new terminal) is required in Muscat. The Salalah airport is a beautiful one and very efficient. I haven’t seen the new airport but I know that the OAMC is working hard to make the passenger experience as efficient as possible,” he said.
SalamAir has already started operating two flights to Salalah daily, which will increase up to four in the coming weeks.
“Ever since we started, the response has been excellent. Currently, we fly to Salalah twice a day but soon we will be flying four times a day,” he said.
They will also be soon launching direct flights to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, in addition to Dubai.
“We will be launching flights to Karachi, Sialkot and Multan in Pakistan in no more than two months from now, for which booking will open in the coming weeks,” he said.
As SalamAir grows, it will continue to add destinations, especially in the immediate vicinity of the Sultanate.
“Our objective to fly in the vicinity of Oman and that is one of the reasons we are looking at the GCC, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indian subcontinent and African countries.”
The low cost carrier also offers essential facilities, both in-flight and otherwise, such as limo services, Wi-Fi onboard, and food and snacks,as per the requirements of its passengers.
Salam Air is positive about playing an important role in boosting the economy and raising awareness about Oman among other countries in the region.
“Around the world and even in GCC, it (Oman) is not known enough. What can be the best thing to do that having an airline to create a bridge and a connection between various countries in the region, not only for tourism but also for business.”