Oman’s budget airline SalamAir has obtained landing slots at Dubai International Airport (DXB) after passengers wanted it to fly to a more “prestigious” airport in Dubai, according to its chief executive officer.
The airline, launched in January, isn’t likely to start services to the world’s busiest airport for international passengers anytime soon, as DXB is running at full capacity, Francois Bouteiller told Arabian Business during an interview at Arabian Travel Market.
At present, the carrier operates two daily flights from Muscat to Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).
“He [Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths] is working on a solution. We have obtained some slots in DXB but they have some restrictions in Terminal 2. They are just overcapacity.”
He admitted the move to DXB was primarily driven by passenger feedback.
“In Muscat, if you are going to Dubai you have to fly to DXB because when they look at the map they say ‘this is in the centre of the city’.
“It’s only an impression that DWC is too far out and is not as ‘prestigious’ as DXB. But, in fact, it is a lot more efficient and a much better airport in terms of operational capability,” Bouteiller said.
The airline is looking to operate 12 Airbus A320 jets by 2020 and has currently leased three aircraft from Chile's LATAM Airlines.
“We plan to add two to three aircraft to our fleet by next year,” Bouteiller said, adding they expect to carry between 750,000 and 800,000 passengers this year.
The airline, owned by the Omani government pension funds and the Muscat municipality, will also launch new routes to Medina, Saudi Arabia, Sialkot, Karachi and Multan in Pakistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh in coming weeks and months.
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