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Oman Air to further expand and recoup market share in India

Sunil VA, Oman Air

India contributes a major share of the overall network traffic for Oman Air and is one of the key markets after Oman. India will continue to be a big focus market with the increase in frequencies planned from October and then later in 2023, says Sunil V A, Country Manager – India, Oman Air. In this interaction with Sunil, we also get the gist that the airline also takes an active role in shaping the future of tourism in Oman through its holiday arm.

– Prashant Nayak

Oman Air resumed scheduled India operations in March-end of 2022 with a cautious approach, operating flights ranging from one to three times a week from eight key cities in India – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, and Kozhikode. This development further boosted their customers’ confidence to travel again.

All COVID-19 preventive safety precautions and procedures previously in place at airports and across Oman were lifted on May 22, 2022. As more countries lifted travel restrictions, Oman Air saw rapidly accelerating air travel growth, allowing them to connect with their passengers to the wider Oman Air network from India.

“Our load factor has steadily been increasing. By June, we were operating seven flights a week from seven cities in India, boosting frequency to 110 flights a week between India and Muscat as demand increased. Load factors continued to be 80 per cent with continued demand and an increase in capacity saw the fares getting attractive. Also, we recently had a global promotion to stimulate the demand and to encourage more guests to travel. Between Muscat and operational India destinations, we introduced wide-body service, including the B787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330 in addition to the Boeing 737,” shares Sunil.

Currently, Oman Air has been steadily increasing its frequency of operations with growing demand. As of August 2022, they are operating ten weekly flights to Kochi, Delhi, and Chennai, bringing the total to 122 weekly flights between Muscat and eight Indian destinations. “These additions have consistently boosted tourism in Oman. The recent five city road shows at Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru were conducted by the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, Oman, which received a great response. We are hopeful that this will further boost the tourism business to Oman,” says Sunil.

Oman Air’s present network spans 42 destinations. From eight operating cities in India, the airline offers convenient connections to European points such as Istanbul, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Milan, Zurich, and the recently launched Trabzon. Extensive connectivity, including major airports across the Middle East and Africa, are their USPs. Through their partners such as Qatar Airways, American Airlines, and Egypt Air, they extend the connectivity to over 15 destinations across US and Canada.

Regarding connecting and marketing with their travel trade partners in India, Sunil explains, “We have constantly been connected with and have always partnered with travel and trade partners in India as they contribute to a major share of our overall business from India. We have finalised plans for this financial year, and are looking at ad hoc projects with our trade partners as and when there is an opportunity.” India accounts for a major share of the total Oman Air revenues. Oman Air’s strategy is also to grow and recoup the market share in India.

Oman Air continues to innovate based on customer preferences. Recently, they won the 2022 Passenger Choice Award® for Best Seat Comfort in the Middle East by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). “Our focus is also towards meeting customers’ demand through ancillary services based on customer preferences. To meet the growing demand and with changing customer preferences, on our NDC Platform, retailers and travel agents can offer end-to-end booking and ticketing for Oman Air, Interline, and code-share flights with attractive discounts on all fare types and ancillary products,” informs Sunil.

The airline also constantly strives toward boosting tourism in Oman and the Middle East. Through Oman Air Holidays, they offer a wide variety of attractive packages in the region. Sharing more detail on their holiday deals, Sunil apprises, “We continue to facilitate travel for football fans to this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar. We will be operating 48 Match Day Shuttle flights between Muscat and Doha from November 21 to December 3, 2022. Our special and customisable holiday deals include exclusive hotel packages, special rates, and services. Whether you are visiting for a few hours, overnight, or for several days, we have something to make your experience truly memorable. We have also partnered with major hotels in Oman through our holiday department and tourists can continue in Oman with exciting adventures, breathtaking natural beauty, and experience true Omani hospitality.”

Sunil concludes, “With strong demand, we see promising growth and soon plan to launch double daily flights from major Indian cities and increasing the frequencies from 14 to 21 flights a week between India and Oman. The network continues to expand along with the increase in flights to India and we are positive to reach full potential by summer 2023.”