Oman Air to position itself as destination airline

Muscat: Oman Air will revisit its national priorities and its role in enabling tourism to diversify the economy for sustainable growth.

As per the national aviation strategy for 2030, the airline will focus on developing a route network (as a destination airline) that brings direct inbound tourists. The company will focus on partnerships with airlines to enlarge the network in target markets. The product offering in the airline will be tailored for tourists passengers which include offering authentic Omani experience and tourism focussed services at the airports.

Speaking about the plans for Oman Air, Mustafa al Hinai, CEO, Oman Aviation Group (OAG), said, “Oman Air’s restructuring or transformation strategy has been in place for the last 2-3 years. There has been a major difference in the financials of the company as the revenues increased by 27 per cent. More than the manpower costs, we have certain fixed costs related to procurement and international contracts, which were renegotiating to keep costs down.”

As per the strategy report, the airline is expected to operate a harmonised fleet with more economy long-range narrow-bodied aircraft for thin routes. “Oman Air has a fleet of 55 aircraft, which include three 787-8s, seven 787-9s, six A330-300s, four A330-200s, five 737-900s, 21 737-800s, four Embraers and five 737 max (grounded).” Under the long term strategy, the loyalty programme will be integrated with source market alliances and the local hospitality sector.

The airline will have a tiered fare structure with premium ancillary experiences. Sales and marketing will be integrated with the tourism sector as the airline will seek to promote Oman as a tourist destination online, abroad and onboard.

The airline is likely to benefit from the government policy of negotiating reciprocal open skies policy, balancing the economic, trade and tourism benefits that will flow from opening up the international aviation markets.

“The government will declare Duqm, Salalah and Suhar airports as open skies for various international airlines in a step to attract investments and promote trade and tourism in these regions. Necessary facilities would be available for airlines interested in operating to these airports.”

The government aims to develop an economic regulatory framework that promotes fair competition with the sector, involving the private sector.