Salalah Air (Salalah) is planning to introduce its first jet equipment as early as next year. Airline chief executive Sam Owen told Arabian Aerospace in an interview that the start-up is aiming to lease in ERJ-135 equipment as early as January of next year.

The privately-owned start-up was to have commenced revenue operations last year with flights from its Salalah base to Bossaso in northeastern Somalia. However, this was contingent on it securing its AOC from the Omani Public Authority for Civil Aviation (OPACA) by November of last year.

According to Owen, Salalah Air will use four GA8 Airvans and a Do228 (wet-leased from RUAG Aerospace) for its initial operational requirements before graduating to the jets. The rugged turboprops will prove ideal for serving remote Omani towns that exhibit very strong tourist potential but which are difficult to reach by road.

For its part, the ERJ-135 will be used to develop routes to more distant Omani destinations such as Khasab and Masirah, as well as to other Gulf destinations. EMB-190s will allow for the introduction of flights to Zanzibar, Tanzania, which, as a former Omani colony, still has strong cultural ties to the Sultanate.