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INTERVIEW: Oman’s Most Trusted Brand – SalamAir

6 Jun 2023 By GULAM ALI KHAN

SalamAir plans fleet expansion, new routes

Muscat – As the low-cost national carrier of Oman, SalamAir has made significant strides in improving and expanding its network and product offerings, all while keeping fares affordable for customers. The airline’s dedication to excellence and customer satisfaction has been recognised through its recent accolade as the winner of Oman’s Most Trusted Brand Award 2022 in the airlines category.

In an exclusive interview with Muscat Daily, SalamAir CEO, Captain Mohamed Ahmed, talked about the airline’s customer-centric approach and its strengths within the aviation sector of the sultanate. He also shared insights into SalamAir’s future plans for fleet and network expansion.

SalamAir has been voted as Oman’s Most Trusted Brand 2022 in the airlines category. How has SalamAir built and maintained its reputation as a top brand in the sultanate’s aviation industry?

Firstly, we are very humbled and thankful to our customers who chose us as their preferred airline. Our customer-first approach is something we take very seriously. Over the years, we have significantly improved our overall product offerings and network and maintained low fares, making travel affordable and accessible to many. We constantly evolve our services and continue to listen and engage with our customers.

How does SalamAir differentiate itself from other low-cost carriers in the region? What initiatives has SalamAir implemented to enhance the customer experience?

As a national carrier of Oman, we consider ourselves fortunate to operate from a base that reflects the rich culture of this remarkable country. We take pride in embodying the values of Omani hospitality, which permeates every aspect of our customer service across various touchpoints. Moreover, our product offerings are designed with simplicity in mind, effectively addressing the diverse needs of our customers in terms of both services and destinations. Our carefully crafted network is tailored to complement the travel requirements of our home base while continuously expanding to meet the evolving needs of our valued customers.

We recently introduced the first freighter to our fleet to further diversify our business. This strategic addition enhances our capabilities and enables us to offer an even broader range of services. Additionally, we have upgraded our booking engine and introduced numerous value-added services, providing our passengers with a convenient and personalised experience.

Innovation and creativity are deeply ingrained in our approach, evident in our adaptability to changing circumstances and adventurous spirit. These qualities shine through in all aspects of our business, including technology advancements, network expansion, and fleet diversification.

We consistently strive to embrace new ideas and push boundaries, ensuring we remain at the forefront of the industry. As a national carrier of Oman, we embody the essence of Omani culture, offering exceptional hospitality, simplicity, and innovative solutions. We are committed to providing our customers with unmatched travel experiences while continuously evolving and adapting to meet their ever-changing needs.

How do you keep the costs affordable for passengers while maintaining higher safety and customer satisfaction?

Efficient resource management is a crucial advantage in maintaining competitiveness. For instance, we excel in optimising operational efficiency, proudly standing out as one of the most efficient airlines in the region in terms of aircraft utilisation. This proficiency provides us with a cost-saving advantage, allowing us to offer highly competitive fares.

Moreover, we have nurtured an adaptable team with extensive knowledge across multiple facets of the business. This strategy empowers us to reduce manpower expenses while maintaining high levels of expertise effectively.

Our focus is on short- to medium-haul operations; we focus on the latest aircraft technology that supports safety, high fuel efficiency, and low maintenance costs. We have recently secured the IATA safety audit registration, which is a testament to our commitment to passenger safety. We follow the low-cost model for saving costs across our business, which transpires to our customers as low fares. Our team is dedicated to ensuring our passengers are cared for at every step of their journey.

Can you tell about the current size of SalamAir’s aircraft fleet, routes and destinations?

In 2022, we were honoured to receive the prestigious recognition of having the youngest fleets in Asia. Our fleet comprises six A320neo, four A321neo aircraft, and an A321F dedicated to freight operations. With these ten-passenger aircraft, we serve a comprehensive network of 38 destinations, encompassing domestic and international routes.

Looking ahead, we have exciting plans for fleet expansion. In June and July 2023, we are set to welcome three new Airbus 321neo aircraft to our fleet. Furthermore, before the end of the year, we have three additional aircraft scheduled for delivery. These developments will increase our fleet size to 17 aircraft, enabling us to enhance our services and cater to a broader range of travel demands.

What new routes or markets will your airline expand to in the next few years? What factors do you consider when selecting new destinations to add to SalamAir route network?

Our destinations are selected by listening to our customers, followed by a feasibility study to gauge the operational and commercial viability of the destination. We have already introduced Kula Lumpur, Almaty, Rize, Mashhad, and Beirut this summer, all fascinating destinations for our passengers to explore. We have a few more in the pipeline, which we will announce in the near future.

How does SalamAir handle the competition from larger carriers in the market?

I firmly believe that competition is a positive force that ultimately benefits customers. It encourages us to continuously enhance and innovate our unique product offering, enabling us to seize new opportunities in the market. By embracing advanced thinking and staying ahead of the curve, we consistently strive to maintain a competitive edge over other carriers. Our commitment to forward-looking strategies ensures we remain one step ahead in meeting customer needs and expectations.

How does SalamAir approach partnerships and codeshare agreements with other airlines to expand its destination offerings?

Our business model focuses on expanding our network while allowing our passengers’ reliability and convenience during their travel while maintaining low fares. Thus, partnerships and agreements would be part of our strategic collaboration, which benefits the airline and is strategically advantageous to our partners, the country and the region on a macroeconomic scale.

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