Air Arabia Boosts Flights to Salalah

United Arab Emirates (UAE) low-cost carrier Air Arabia is to increase the frequency of its flights between its base at Sharjah International Airport and the southern Sultanate of Oman city of Salalah.  The budget airline launched flights to Salalah, an increasingly popular leisure destination, less than a year ago but has seen a much stronger than anticipated up take for its flights.  From May 8, 2013 it will introduce a third weekly rotation on the route.

“We are pleased to expand services to Salalah after launching services to this unique city less than a year ago,” said, Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia.  “Our customers enjoy access to the extensive destination network of our carrier and the highest quality service possible, and this announcement is a direct result of that commitment.  As demand soars for Air Arabia’s value for money services, we will continue to further expand our network in the Arab world and beyond, providing customers with a wider choice for value air travel.”

Salalah is a popular tourist destination due to the natural attractions and its seasonal weather, locally known as ‘Khareef’ and has a distinctive natural diversity where the coast blends with the mountains and the desert.  It is the capital of Dhofar Governorate, which stretches over a large area in southern Oman and covers a pristine coastal strip of over 550km.  The destination is particularly popular with leisure travellers from Europe, North America, Africa and the Middle East but up until recently access has been limited.

Alongside Air Arabia’s flights, only Air India Express and Oman Air provide services with the former flying to Cochin, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram and the latter connecting Salalah directly to Muscat and Dubai.  However, from May a significant increase in direct services will be offered with Oman Air introducing a twice weekly link to Jeddah from May 2, 2013; flydubai adding a three times weekly flight to Dubai from May 21, 2013 and Qatar Airways launching a four times weekly service to Doha on May 22, 2013.  From June, Saudia will also introduce seasonal links to Riyadh.

In the table below we highlight the largest O&D markets from Salalah during 2012.  Alongside the country markets presently served directly from the city, this analysis shows there are also notable passenger flows into Pakistan, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Thailand, Egypt and Bahrain. 

ESTIMATED DEMAND FROM SALALAH (bi-directional O&D passengers; 2012)

Rank

Destination

Estimated O&D Passengers

% Total Demand

1

Muscat International (MCT)

370,125

69.1 %

2

Dubai International (DXB)

37,350

7.0 %

3

Kozhikode (CCJ)

20,308

3.8 %

4

Thiruvananthapuram International (TRV)

14,510

2.7 %

5

Cochin International (COK)

12,987

2.4 %

6

Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International (BOM)

6,684

1.2 %

7

Lahore Alama Iqbal International (LHE)

5,029

0.9 %

8

Chennai Madras International (MAA)

4,901

0.9 %

9

Kuwait International (KWI)

4,629

0.9 %

10

Hyderabad Rajiv Gandhi International (HYD)

4,087

0.8 %

OVERALL TOTAL

535,956

-