Oman Air is in the process to become a member of the global Oneworld Alliance and hopes to reach that goal by the end of 2022.
The Sultanate of Oman is known for its hospitality. The nation depends a lot on tourism and the CEO of Oman Air Abdulaziz Al Raisi told me in a recent interview in Doha, that there are several aspects that became very important for the airline.
Joining OneWorld Alliance
“We are in discussions with Oneworld and (Oneworld member) Qatar Airways has invited us to join the alliance. We have a strategical partnership with Qatar Airways and most of our code-shares flights will be routed via Doha“, Al Raisi told me. He made it clear, to become a Oneworld member, Oman Air has to go through several membership stages.
"We have to follow the process and I hope by end of 2022 to become a full Oneworld alliance member".CEO of Oman Air Abdulaziz Al Raisi
Oman Air has several code-share agreements, but not all of them will remain once the carrier is able to join the alliance. “Some of the code-shares are very good, some which are not so cooperative we will get out of it“, he said.
Earlier plans that Oman Air operates its own flights to the US have been skipped and will be not continued for now. “We will serve the US via Doha with Qatar Airways. Oman Air is also working closely with American Airlines via London and on to other US destinations“, Al Raisi explained.
Fleet and Network
Like most of the airlines worldwide, also Oman Air has its problem related to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “However, with the support from the government, we managed slowly to come out of this crisis. Oman has opened up again for tourism and our network is increasing a bit“. Routes to Europe have been re-opened again whereever Oman Air has used to go, but with fewer frequencies.
“By 1Q of 2022 we will resume 70% or 80% of our before Covid-19 network“.CEO of Oman Air Abdulaziz Al Raisi
Regarding the Oman Air fleet, Al Raisi said there are no order cancellations, but it will defer some 787 deliveries. "In December Oman Air has planned to take two Boeing 737 MAX deliveries and two 787s. But some of the 787s which supposed to come in 2023 and 2024 were deferred until the whole process (joining the alliance) is finished“, he said.
Thirdly, talking about the competition in the Gulf region itself, he said Oman Air is different compared to the other three main ones (Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad), as it is focusing on point-to-point traffic. “As tourism is so important for our country and Oman Air is promoting also the destination, in the future we will have less focus on the transfer business at our hub in Muscat“, Al Raisi added.