In May 2017, Oman Air launched a new daily flight from Muscat to Manchester. The new daily service is operated by an Airbus 330-200 and is the airline’s second flight connection to the UK following the current double daily service between London Heathrow and Muscat. The new flight adds to the airline’s expansion plans to Europe which stands as an important market. Addressing the media, Paul Gregorowitsch, chief executive office, Oman Air, stated, “With our new destinations in Europe we are looking to promote Oman as connecting destination for the India market. India’s growing tourism numbers, english speaking population and growing economy showcase potential of growth and it stands as a key market for us.”
This year onwards Delhi, Calicut and Hyderabad have 21 weekly flights each, and Lucknow operates 14 weekly flights. Starting August 1, 2017, Oman Air will introduce a third daily flight from Mumbai to Muscat, which will increase the weekly capacity from 154 to 161 flights. Oman Air flies to 11 destinations in India including Goa, Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Kozhikode and Jaipur. Gregorowitsch informed, “We will be adding 1821 additional seats for the winter months taking the total count to 27,405. Mumbai and Hyderabad will see 53 per cent and eight per cent growth in seats respectively.”
Over the past year Oman Air has seen an average rate of close to 80 per cent in seat occupancy and has increased its seat capacity. The airline had 5,067 additional seats last year and with the new addition it has reached closer to 28,000 seats which is the total limit allowed by the Indian government. Looking ahead of India’s growth potential, Gregorowitsch opined, “We are hopeful that the government will go ahead with their open sky policy for countries within 5,000 km by 2020. This shall help in better movement and economic growth between the two countries.”
Oman Air earlier planned to operate 70 aircraft by 2020 which would have been flying to 75 destinations, but due to slow economic growth, it has been shifted to the year 2023, added Gregorowitsch.
Bhanu Mohan Kaila, country manager – India, Oman Air, further added, “The winter season shows full utilisation of 27, 405 seats. We already have excellent connectivity out of major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mysuru which shall further add to the Europe traffic. Many of the major tour operators are working with us on the Europe connections as we have excellent service. On the tourism front, Oman is a very unique and unexplored destination which is of huge interest to the Indian traveller. We have already seen a great demand for the wedding segment from the India market.”