Oman Air has suspended all flights until further notice, joining a growing list of other airlines that are desperately avoiding the fallout of the coronavirus. The airline has not indicated when the passenger flights will resume, only that their last flight will be this Sunday the 29th of March 2020.
What are the details?
If you are booked on a flight on Oman Air, be prepared for your flight to be canceled. The carrier will cease passenger flights indefinitely to help stave off the damage caused by the global pandemic and help its nation-state Oman defend against the further spread of the virus.
Oman currently has its border closed to foreigners and local Oman citizens are not allowed to leave the country. Cargo flights will continue, however.
Speaking to media, the CEO of Oman Air Abdulaziz Al Raisi said.
“This is a temporary suspension of our passenger services. We regret the difficulty and inconvenience this may cause, but it’s vital for us as the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman to assist in the country’s effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.”
The airline will still operate a flight from Oman Air’s hub of Muscat to Musandam Governorate. It is not clear where Oman Air will park its fleet of 50 or so aircraft, and if its hub airport can handle all of them in storage at the same time.
If you are booked on Oman Air, the airline has suggested that you contact them via the website to arrange a credit or to change your booking.
Will Oman Air be able to survive this crisis?
This crisis has become the make or break issue for the airline industry, and Oman Air has joined others around the globe to cease trading or cut routes significantly like South Africa Airlines and Virgin Australia this morning.
“We will prioritize the needs of our guests and employees as we continue to assess the evolving situation. This is an unprecedented time for our industry, but I am confident we will emerge stronger from this crisis as we had successfully done so in the past.”
Oman Air, like other Gulf carriers such as Emirates and Qatar, makes the bulk of its trade through transit passengers. Whilst Oman has not banned transit passengers passing through their ports (like Singapore and the UAE) the very quickly dwindling list of destination countries with their borders still open makes turning a profit harder every day.
Thus perhaps this move by the airline to just have a ‘hibernation’ until this all blows over is the smart thing to do.
“When its temporary suspension is lifted, Oman Air will take an orderly approach to restore its international services with a focus on safety, quality and meeting our guests’ travel commitments”
What do you think about this news? Are you booked with Oman Air? Let us know in the comments.