On October 26th, Kuwait budget airline Jazeera Airways announced the launch of a new service to Muscat (Oman). Starting November 2nd, the carrier will operate a once-weekly service. While in recent history, the airline has operated services to all other Gulf countries, the Sultanate of Oman had been left out, until now.
Operating out of its very own Terminal 5 at Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Jazeera Airways (J9) will fly to Muscat every Monday. The outbound flight will be quite early, departing Kuwait at 05:45 and arriving in Muscat at 08:35. With a quick turnaround, Kuwait’s return journey will depart Muscat at 09:20 and arrive at 10:35. All times listed are local.
With a one hour time difference between Kuwait and Oman, the flight is just under two hours long.
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“We are pleased to be flying once again to Muscat and offering additional leisure options to the Kuwait market. Muscat and Oman generally are very popular with Kuwaitis. This is the third new route we have launched during the pandemic which shows that we are making good progress in building back our operations.’’ -Rohit Ramachandran, Chief Executive Officer of Jazeera Airways
An airline spokesperson told Simple Flying that the CEO’s statement of ‘flying once again’ refers to the fact that Jazeera Airways did fly to Muscat once upon a time. In fact, it was over a decade ago, up until 2009. However, the airline says that “2009 was a turning point for the airline and many destinations had to be suspended to cope with government-owned airlines’ competition and global financial crisis.”
Who’s competing on this route?
Speaking of competition, Jazeera Airways will be entering an already busy market, competing with three other carriers for direct service between Kuwait and Muscat. Those competitors are as follows:
- Hometown rival and full-service airline Kuwait Airways
- The full-service flag carrier of Oman, Oman Air
- Oman’s budget carrier, Salam Air
Jazeera’s re-entry into this market place is most likely to affect fellow low-cost-carrier Salam Air, but with a mere once-weekly service, this probably won’t affect the marketplace too much. The big question is whether or not passengers are willing to wake up as early as 04:00 to get to the airport and fly out of Kuwait.
Launching flights during a global crisis
Interestingly, Jazeera Airways has been launching flights during a worldwide health crisis. The airline has already launched two new services in recent months, beginning service to Dhaka (Bangladesh) earlier this month as well as flights to Trabzon (Turkey) in August.
While these are indeed new routes, their frequencies reflect the nature of the current global situation. The Dhaka and Trabzon services only run twice-weekly.
With flights having resumed at Kuwait International Airport since August 1st, the airline has been doing the same as most carriers around the world, implementing new biosafety measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The airline has the following precautions in place:
- Passengers must check-in online and download their boarding pass on the Jazeera App or print it from the website.
- Check-in is also available up to 24 hours before the flight departure at a specialized site located at the Terminal 5 Car Park.
- An anti-viral disinfection program where cabins are fumigated using anti-viral high-pressure disinfection sprays.
- Advanced onboard filtration systems are replaced frequently, removing dust, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other irritating particles.
- The crew will wear full protective gear, which is disinfected before boarding flights.
- Passengers are mandated to wear medical face masks and gloves at all times.
- Passengers receive a hygiene pack and pre-packed closed food bags to avoid the risk of contamination.
Have you ever flown to Muscat? Which carrier would you choose to fly there? Please share your opinion and experience with us in the comments.