UPDATE: A representative of Oman Air clarified that the airline only intends to study the US market in 2021/2022, and that the comments by Oman Air’s CEO were a misunderstanding.
Oman’s flag carrier, Oman Air, has announced its intentions to fly to the United States. The news was revealed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and first reported by Business Insider.
In terms of aviation, the Middle East is known as a hub for connecting passengers. The location is perfect for passengers traveling between East and West. In fact, Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways all rely on connecting passengers as the backbone of their operations.
Conversely, Oman Air wants its focus placed on passengers with its home country as their final destination. As such, the Middle Eastern carrier eyes flights to the United States by 2022.
Not a new plan
The plan to fly to the US is nothing new. Business Insider notes that Oman’s flag carrier first eyed flights to the United States in 2018. The Points Guy adds that the airline didn’t receive permission from the FAA to launch such flights until last year (2019).
However, now that this permission has been received, plans are starting to take shape. In fact, towards the end of the year, Oman Air entered into a codeshare agreement with Air Italy. This will allow the carrier to put its code and sell tickets on Air Italy’s route from Milan to New York and Miami.
But now, the Omani flag carrier wants its own aircraft landing on US soil. This is something that its 2019 FAA certification would allow it to do. While Oman Air hasn’t said where in the United States it would like to fly, there has been plenty of speculation.
One popular route could be to New York, a destination that can currently be reached by its codeshare agreement with Air Italy. As One Mile At A Time puts it, with a change of airline in Milan, Oman has no competitivity on the route. However, a non-stop flight could give the carrier an edge. They also point out that Oman Air’s current longest route is 4,120 miles to Manila, while New York would be just over 7,000 miles.
What do we know?
Oman Air does not presently have an interest in competing as a Middle East hub carrier like the big three in the area. Rather, the Oman flag carrier wants its focus to be on bringing passengers into the country of Oman.
Oman Aviation Group’ CEO Mustafa Al Hinai told Business Insider,
“Flying to the US will happen in through a codeshare in the meantime, but in late 2021, 2022, we’ll be focusing into the US market.” He then went on to add: “We need to really understand the market first, it’s very complex, each and every city”.
Do you think Oman Air should be expanding to the United States? Which city should it fly to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!