SalamAir, the sultanate’s low-cost carrier, like other companies in the global airline industry, has been gravely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, according to the chief executive officer Mohammed Ahmed.
However, since SalamAir is a small airline, it has been easier for the company to manage the coronavirus crisis compared to the major airlines in the region, Ahmed said in a statement to Oman News Agency.
He explained that SalamAir returned 30 per cent of its fleet and kept only six aircraft considered among the best in the region. Over the past few months, SalamAir was able to operate 651 charter flights to 60 destinations and the airline carried more than 67,000 passengers. These flights relatively eased the losses of the low-cost carrier caused by the lockdown on air travel locally and internationally in late March this year.
Ahmed welcomed the decision of the Supreme Committee for dealing with COVID-19 on the partial opening of the Muscat International Airport. He described the decision as ‘a good initiative that will help activate travel and tourism in the sultanate’.
He pointed out that the Civil Aviation Authority permitted the first phase of operations, giving the airlines an opportunity to operate two flights a week to past destinations. SalamAir will operate flights to all its past destinations, if accessible, he added.
When asked which destinations are likely to be of great interest to SalamAir passengers in near future, Ahmed said Istanbul in Turkey, Shiraz in Iran and some of the GCC destinations like Dubai would be of interest for passengers due to the deferment of the new school year to November 2020.
He explained that the sultanate is expected to see an influx of tourists from the GCC, even as the weather is turning moderate in Oman where tourism facilities are usually abuzz with GCC families during the cool season.
Ahmed promised that SalamAirwill be highly dedicated to customer safety, which tops the list of its priorities. Fortunately, the company’s new aeroplanes are fitted with hi-tech ventilation systems, the latest of its kind in the world, he said.
“Not only that, SalamAir also signed contracts with some of the most specialised international firms to keep its aircrafts free from virus, microbes and germs. Any passenger who steps onboard will be confident that he is entering a highly hygienic aircraft,” Ahmed said while advising the passengers to stick to health instructions and maintain social distance at the airports.
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