Will regular flights start from June 1?

Muscat: While competent authorities in many countries, including the GCC, are yet to decide on the opening of the aviation sector, some airlines already have started bookings.

The airlines’ sources in Oman told the Observer that there is some demand for outbound travel from Oman and the Gulf due to multiple factors and while bookings are available on the website, it all depends on the respective governments’ decisions.

“The possibility of resuming flight operations is being studied but no recommendations have been made,” said Dr. Mohammed bin Saif al Hosani, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health, replying to a question at a press conference of the Supreme Committee recently.

“Air travel will also never be the same at the beginning with the possibility of mandatory wearing of face coverings for passengers and masks as per IATA recommendations.”

The national airline, Oman Air has started bookings from Muscat, for Mumbai with fares starting from RO 111, Kochi (RO 149), London (RO194),

Dubai (RO78) and Salalah (RO 28).

The second Oman-based airline, SalamAir has started bookings from May 15 to Salalah and May 22 to Dubai.

Among airlines to India, Indigo shows bookings to Mumbai while Go Air shows bookings to Mumbai and Kannur.

From Dubai, Flydubai has started bookings to Muscat from May 21 and also destinations in India.

From Sharjah, Air Arabia started bookings to Muscat from June 1.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called for governments to work with the industry on confidence-boosting measures in the face of an anticipated slow recovery in demand for air travel.

“Passenger confidence will suffer a double whammy even after the pandemic is contained—hit by personal economic concerns in the face of a looming recession on top of lingering concerns about the safety of travel.

Governments and industry must be quick and coordinated with confidence-boosting measures,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

According to an IATA survey, only 60 percent anticipate a return to travel within one to two months of containment of the pandemic but 40 percent indicate that they could wait six months or more.

Around 69 percent indicated that they could delay a return to travel until their personal financial situation stabilizes.