Oman Air Seeks To Join The oneworld Alliance

Oman Air has announced that it intends to apply to join the oneworld alliance. Using its partnership with Qatar Airways, Oman Air wants the carrier’s assistance in grafting its application and growing its ability to offer global connections through its position in the alliance.

Oman Air Boeing 787
Oman Air is seeking to join the oneworld alliance. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr

Oman Air seeks oneworld membership

Reuters reports that Oman Air has announced its intention to apply to join the oneworld alliance. The airline will be working with Qatar Airways on its application. Qatar’s CEO, Akbar Al Baker, is also the chairman of the oneworld alliance.

Oman Air is not currently part of an airline alliance, but it is seeking to join the alliance in a bid to expand the options it can give for its customers to travel. Over the last few years, Oman Air has been on a growth trajectory, and it believes membership in the alliance could be a way to further its position.

The oneworld alliance currently has 14 members around the world. This includes:

  1. Alaska Airlines
  2. American Airlines
  3. British Airways
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Finnair
  6. Iberia
  7. Japan Airlines
  8. Malaysia Airlines
  9. Qantas
  10. Qatar Airways
  11. Royal Air Maroc
  12. Royal Jordanian
  13. S7 Airlines
  14. SriLankan Airlines

There is also Fiji Airways, which is a oneworld connect member. oneworld connect members are not full alliance members. Instead, these members provide select benefits to only a specific array of customers.

Boeing 737 Getty
If accepted into the alliance, Oman Air would be its 15th member. Photo: Getty Images

A spokesperson for oneworld offered the following statement:

“At any time, there are ongoing discussions with a range of prospective members but we do not comment on any specific airlines. As airlines recover from COVID-19, alliances will become more important by providing global connectivity, as airlines reshape their networks, many with reduced fleets when compared to their pre-COVID size.”

Oman Air did not immediately respond to a request for comments. However, it did confirm its interest in joining the alliance to Reuters.

About Oman Air

Oman Air has served its country since 1993, when it started as a regional airline. Today, the carrier flies to destinations near and far using various aircraft, including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Its main hub is Muscat.

Data from Cirium shows that Oman Air plans to fly to over 30 destinations around the world next month. This includes domestic routes and flights to major European hubs like London and Frankfurt. Oman Air also has a healthy presence in India, which is a competitive and still growing market.

Oman Air Seeks To Join The oneworld Alliance
Oman Air’s October 2021 route network. Photo: Cirium

According to data from ch-aviation.com, Oman Air has a fleet of 51 aircraft:

  • Four Airbus A330-200s
  • Six Airbus A330-300s
  • Eight Boeing 737 MAX 8s
  • 15 Boeing 737-800s
  • Five Boeing 737-900ERs
  • Two Boeing 787-8s
  • Seven Boeing 787-9s
  • Four Embraer E170s

Oman Air also still has Boeing 787 and 737 MAX aircraft on order.

Oman Air Seeks To Join The oneworld Alliance
Oman Air is also a Boeing 737 MAX operator, and it has more on order, which it could use to expand its route network. Photo: Boeing

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Oman Air in the oneworld alliance

Oman Air and Qatar Airways already have a close partnership. The two airlines codeshare on various routes across their network, giving Oman Air access to more customers in more destinations.

The oneworld alliance already has an extensive presence in the Middle East, with Royal Jordanian and Qatar Airways as full members. Adding Oman Air would further the alliance’s position as the leading option in this part of the world, including connecting traffic.

Oman Air also has a limited set of long-haul destinations it serves. For example, it does not fly to North America or Australia. For these destinations, it relies on connections through Qatar Airways.

Oman Air
Oman Air flies to several major European and Asian hubs. Photo: Getty Images

Oman Air also has other codeshare partners. This includes Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, and more. However, those codeshares are far more limited, so there is room for growth in Oman Air’s partnership portfolio.

As a member of the oneworld alliance, the carrier will be able to partner with other airlines like British Airways for onward connections. In addition, there is some precedent for oneworld members to come and add new flights to a new member’s hub. For example, with Royal Air Maroc planning to enter the alliance, American Airlines plotted a Philadelphia to Casablanca link, though the crisis significantly delayed that route’s launch date.

Muscat does not have a large oneworld presence. It would not be too surprising to see other airlines like Royal Jordanian, Cathay Pacific, or Finnair, for example, add some new flights to Oman when travel comes back in earnest. Or else, Oman could utilize its incoming aircraft to add its own flights to partner hubs for onward connections.

Oman Air Seeks To Join The oneworld Alliance
Qatar Airways and Oman Air are already codeshare partners. Photo: Qatar Airways

Mr. Al Baker has repeatedly expressed interest in growing the oneworld alliance under his chairmanship. Oman Air is one example of that. Speaking on an exclusive webinar interview with Simple Flying in May, he stated the following on alliance growth:

“I will endeavor to expand the alliance, even further. I think there are opportunities and [the] alliance is for us to work together, not against each other. And once that is the spirit of working together, Qatar Airways will stay and keep on making the alliance strong, especially – now being the chairman – it is my duty to do that.”

Oman Air will need to do some work to join the alliance. Indeed, it will need to complete the formalities of applying. Assuming there are no significant objections, which there likely will not be given support from Qatar Airways, it seems on track to join the alliance.

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