After three years of operation and carrying 1.6 million passengers, Oman’s SalamAir has been well received by its local market, according to CEO Mohamed Ahmed. The low-cost carrier (LCC) connects Muscat International Airport with 17 destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Nepal, Pakistan and further.
The LCC started with three A320ceos, and then ordered six A320neos. The first neo was delivered in December 2018. The other five, delayed due to Airbus production restraints, will start entering the fleet in the next few months.
On the maintenance side, SalamAir began its operation by outsourcing both line and heavy maintenance. “After gaining experience, we now do line maintenance up to A checks,” Ahmed says. This line work is done only at the airline’s Muscat base, elsewhere at outstations turnaround line work is outsourced to other carriers.
Most MRO is outsourced as well. “All projects are outsourced, at the moment CAMO [Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization] work is outsourced as we are still too small,” Ahmed says. Components are supported by a flight-hour agreement and parts on consignment.
On engines, the SalamAir CEO says “it has been a struggle. Unfortunately, CFMs are in high demand. It has been extremely hard to get access to a spare engine, but we will do that.”
The maintenance and engineering department is thus small, with about two dozen staff at the moment.
Ahmed says his airline will continuing doing line work and A checks at Muscat, but will not add substantially to that scope “in the near future.” Perhaps as the airline adds frequencies and the maintenance center grows, more responsibilities can be taken on. “But at this stage and for the next three years we can’t do CAMO or more maintenance.”