The airline is expected to launch flights to Taif as a seasonal travel option offering services only in Ramadan. In seasonal push, it is expected to add services to Medina for the duration of the holy month and increase its flights to Salalah during the khareef season.
The airline had announced earlier that plans were under way to increase connectivity to Saudi Arabia. This will be achieved by introducing direct flights from Muscat to Taif and a through flight from Salalah to Taif via Muscat along with more flights to Medina during Ramadan - all to accommodate the increasing number of guests travelling for Umrah.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important extension to our network to meet the strong demand for low cost travel,” Yahmadi had said earlier. “We are offering greater flexibility and choice to guests travelling on these routes for leisure, business and religious purposes. These new flights will open new tourism, trade and investment opportunities, contributing to the Omani economy by attracting more tourists and business travellers and in turn spur the creation of employment opportunities in the sultanate.”
The airline launched its Saudi operation with Jeddah flights in April and thereafter started flying to Medina. Since then, it has also started flights to Multan and Sialkot in Pakistan. SalamAir’s expansion to Saudi Arabia adds to the airline’s existing Muscat, Salalah, and Dubai daily flight services. Guests flying from Salalah to Jeddah and Medina are offered ‘through flights’, meaning that they can remain on board during the 50-minute Muscat transit to Saudi Arabia.
The distance between Jeddah and Mecca, where people go for pilgrimage, and Mecca and Taif is almost same. A Saudi-led international consortium has won the contract to develop and operate the new Taif International Airport. The new airport is planned to have an initial capacity of 5mn passengers a year, which could be increased to 8mn and will be opened in 2020.