SalamAir (OV, Muscat) is considering an order for up to 12 Airbus aircraft, either A321-200neo(LR) or A220s, CEO Mohamed Ahmed told The National.

"We’re evaluating all the options. There’s an advantage to sticking to one plane type that fits all, but if business plans prove that having smaller capacity or longer range would bring additional revenue then, of course, we’d look at it," Ahmed said.

The Omani LCC plans to make a decision by the end of 2019, after it obtains traffic rights and charter contracts necessary for its further development. SalamAir is looking to triple its size before its Initial Public Offering (IPO) tentatively scheduled for 2024.

By 2024, the carrier plans to operate 20 aircraft, up from the current four (three A320-200s and one A320-200neo). It intends to take deliveries of five more A320neo by the end of 2019 already.

"We had even more aggressive plans but Airbus delayed most of the aircraft. We should have received all six A320neo aircraft before this summer, but we're only receiving three before summer and three are coming post-summer, so once those aircraft come we'll add more destinations and increase frequencies," Ahmed said, adding that SalamAir was in talks with the manufacturer regarding compensation.

In order to facilitate its growth plans, SalamAir is also considering establishing a base in Salalah in addition to its main gateway at Muscat. The former city is a fast-growing tourist destination but currently, no airline has a crew base there. Salalah presently sees 109 weekly scheduled departures with 63 of them operated by flag carrier Oman Air (WY, Muscat).

Ahmed also said that SalamAir will focus on destinations within the six-hour flight range and had no plans to enter the long-haul low-cost market. He listed Damascus as an attractive destination once the situation in Syria stabilises.