‘Malaysia among most preferred destinations for Omanis’
MUSCAT — The re-launch of daily direct services out of Dubai augurs well for Malaysia Airlines’ goal to boost holiday traffic out of Oman, currently averaging around 25,000 passengers annually, according to a high-ranking representative of the award-winning airline. According to Nur Shaffik Haris, Malaysia Airlines General Manager – UAE & Gulf, the carrier’s decision to resume daily direct flights from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur affirms its commitment to a region that holds significant long-term growth potential. The Sultanate of Oman, with its burgeoning market of outbound holidaymakers, is also central to the carrier’s growth objectives, states Haris. “I’m very encouraged by feedback from the local market that Malaysia is one of the top preferred destinations for Omanis. We have around 25,000 Omani nationals visiting destinations in Malaysia every year, attracted by our green landscape, tropical weather, rich culture, and diverse Asian flavours in a single destination.
Medical tourism is also on the rise”, said Haris said during a recent visit to the Sultanate. The official, who oversees Malaysia Airline’s Gulf market, was in Muscat to meet with partners and players in the travel sector. With the objective of generating traffic to feed flights out of Dubai, Haris held meetings with high-level officials from National Travel & Tourism (NTT), its local General Sales Agent (GSA), along with leading travel agents in Muscat. The team also met with major corporate customers to emphasise the competitive advantages and benefits associated with the resumption of direct services out of Dubai. Malaysia Airlines announced the return of Dubai to its network with the revival of daily direct flights to Kuala Lumpur effective from August 5.
The re-launch, after a gap of more than 18 months, followed a review of operations which pointed to significant market potential for the carrier out of the Gulf. According to Haris, passenger traffic from Oman alone has been growing by around 15 per cent year-on-year, fuelled by a strong penchant among Omanis for leisure holidays in Malaysia. Expatriate residents too are being increasingly smitten by this South East Asian destination’s holiday offerings. In addition to wellness and medical holidays, Malaysia is also an important destination for education. Over 1,000 Omani students attend Malaysian universities and institutions. Many are supported financially by the Sultanate’s Ministry of Higher Education. Collaborative ties with national carrier Oman Air also underscore Malaysia Airlines’ commitment to support the travel needs of the Omani market. Under an interline agreement reached between the two carriers, Oman Air handles connecting passengers between Muscat and Dubai, while Malaysia Airlines provides connectivity Kuala Lumpur.
“We complement each other in serving our mutual interests. This is good for both airlines, as well as for the Omani market,” commented Haris. “We also wish to underline the growing international reputation of Malaysia Airlines as a truly five-star carrier, a ranking that was conferred at the prestigious SKYTRAX World Airline Awards 2013. Besides, our membership of oneworld, which is one of the biggest alliances of airline networks, offers unrivalled connectivity and convenience to passengers, which also gives comfort to agents when they work with Malaysia Airlines.” Malaysia Airlines also has a strong network regionally, providing frequency connections to major business and leisure cities around Asia.
Keen to promote its newly revived services, Malaysia Airlines is offering very attractive fares for passengers from Oman travelling via Dubai to Kuala Lumpur. Round-trip Economy fares start at only RO 250 all-inclusive. Round trip Business class fares start from as low as RO 974 all inclusive. “Malaysia Airlines offers free checked-in baggage of up to 30 kilos for Economy passengers, plus hand baggage of 7 kilos. Business Class passengers are entitled to 40 kilos, plus two pieces of hand baggage free.” (OEPPA Business Development Dept)