Oman Air celebrates decade of operations


Oman's national carrier Oman Air is celebrating a decade of its operations this year as it continues its role as the leading promoter in the private sector for inbound tourism into the Sultanate. Building on its success, the youngest airline in the Gulf is looking ahead to a positive year.

"Business for Oman Air for the first five months has been on plan, with a growth in traffic in line with the airline's operating plan for the year. The airline carried about 330,000 passengers during the first five months of 2003, representing about a 30 per cent growth over the same period in 2002," said the chief executive officer of Oman Air Abdul Rahman Al Busaidy.

The airline has launched several attractive packages to promote tourism and has participated in several overseas exhibitions recently in an effort to promote Oman.

"During the past years, Oman Air has been actively involved in promoting Oman as a holiday destination. Even after the September 11, 2001 incident, when the travel and tourism industry registered a sharp decline in business, it was Oman Air who took immediate counter measures and launched 'The Magic of Muscat' package in conjunction with the Intercontinental Hotels Group.

"This initiative was a phenomenal success, providing valuable support to the inbound traffic that season. The package continues to perform well in terms of generating incremental traffic for the airline and inbound tourist traffic to Muscat. In fact, we have enriched this product by adding additional packages with a selection of other hotels in Muscat, and by also adding destinations and packages outside Muscat, such as Salalah, Khasab, Sur, Ras al Hadd and Nizwa. This new package is called Oman beyond Muscat," added Al Busaidy.

"We have also launched our first ever dedicated Outbound Holidays Brochure recently providing information on Oman Air and the packages launched. We now offer stopover packages as well as complete holiday itineraries, for the elite as well as the budget traveller to some of the most exotic and popular holiday destinations," said Al Busaidy.

Apart from stopover packages, Oman Air also offers sample itineraries within their brochure for some of the popular destinations such as Tanzania, Kenya, India and Sri Lanka. In addition, the airline also offers tailor-made itineraries for all destinations as per the preferences of the passenger.

"The brochure is very timely as Arabs are now looking more at inter-regional travel. We are gradually trying to diversify our resources from regional to inter-regional and now to International. We are also in the process of having our own tours department," explained Al Busaidy.

Oman Air has also recently launched the FALCON Frequent Flyer Programme (FFP) in partnership with Gulf Air enabling one to earn for flights taken on Oman Air and Gulf Air entitling members to exciting rewards and benefits. Each Oman Air and/or Gulf Air flight taken, earns Loyalty Points for the traveller, based on the distance and class flown.

Oman Air has also increased its flights from two to three trips daily to Salalah effective this month and increased its flights to Cairo from two to three trips weekly from June 2003 to cater to the increasing demand on the routes. The country currently flies to 21 stations in 11 countries.

In addition, it has recently taken delivery of five New Generation Boeing NG 737 aircraft and four new ATR aircraft.