Sultanate inks air bilateral in Bahamas meeting

Vinod Nair –
MUSCAT –
Dec 8: Bahamas is currently hosting around 1,000 international delegates from 100 member countries and 10 international member organisations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for a conference that will offer a platform for air services negotiations or consultations
The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) is taking part in the conference and has been holding talks signing bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding with several countries. The details of the agreements were not available at the time of writing this report.
The agreements hold significance as Oman seeks to expand its commercial aviation sector with the expected opening of the new Muscat Airport next year and the launch of services by the second national airline in the coming days.
As per the statistics offered by ICAO for 2015, the air traffic from Muscat is mostly directed to United Arab Emirates (1,760,983), India (1,462, 9), followed by Qatar (672, 153), Saudi Arabia (424,162), Pakistan, Bahrain and Bangladesh
Last year, the MoU between Oman and India allowed additional 5,131 seats to airlines from both two sides, taking the total capacity entitlements from 16,018 seats per week to 21,149 seats per week for both sides.
Oman Air has earlier indicated to the Observer that it is keen to expand its route network, also expand its services to the key destinations in India.
Paul Gregorowitsch, CEO, Oman Air, said, “We want to increase our existing capacities when the entitlements are enlarged.
“Top priority is to increase frequencies from 126 to 175 flights a week, which means additional seating capacity of around 29,000 seats. Top priority is to increase frequencies from 126 to 175 flights a week, which means additional seating capacity of around 29,000 seats.”
The airline is keen on destinations in India such as Mangalore, Kolkata and Amritsar.
François Bouteiller, CEO of SalamAir, too indicated that it will depend on the bilateral rights and ‘we want to ensure that we are going to the right place.”
India’s Jet Airways is also keen to expand its operations from Muscat, including double flights to Mumbai and a destination in Bangalore and Calicut.