11 August 2017Syed Haitham Hasan
Muscat: Oman Air
plans to buy 30 new planes in a spending spree to future-proof the national carrier.
The airline has revealed that 30 new fuel efficient jets—priced by Boeing at a cool $100 million each—will help Oman Air spread its wings globally.
A spokesman for the company said the new 737-Max airliners will combine fuel efficiency and passenger comfort on long-haul routes. The ambitious plans will raise the number of aircraft from 47 to around 70.
A spokesman said: “Oman Air is currently engaged in an exciting fleet and network expansion programme, which will see the carrier operate up to 70 aircraft to around 75 destinations by 2023.
“The programme has seen the airline take delivery of outstanding new aircraft, introduce a range of exciting new destinations and launch new products and services, which contribute to a seamless passenger experience.
“In the first half of 2017, Oman Air has launched new services to Manchester and Nairobi and has increased frequency on a number of its established routes.
“The carrier has also entered a number of code share agreements with other airlines—most recently, Malaysia Airlines and Royal Jordanian Airlines—which opens up more international destinations for guests.
“Thirty new 737-Max aircraft will join our fleet in the years to come, starting from early next year.
“The Dreamliners delivery will continue as per schedule with 10 more 787s scheduled to join the Oman Air fleet.”
Its current fleet comprises six Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 22 737-800s and four Embraer 175s. Some of those existing aircraft will be retired as the new fleet comes on stream.
The narrow bodied fuel efficient 737 Max family of jets was introduced in May this year and can accommodate up to 230 passengers and has a range of up to 7,000 kilometres.
The airline’s most profitable routes are flights to Asia and the United Kingdom, where it requires larger capacity liners with fuel efficiency and comfort.
Oman Air’s purchase of the efficient 737 Max family is a smart move, Saj Ahmad; chief analyst at U.K.-based Strategic Aero Research, said.
“Given that the 737 MAX is lighter than the competing A320neo, burns less fuel and offers more range, Oman Air will be able to deploy the airplane on longer routes where filling a wide body jet either would be harder or make less sense to operate given costs associated with flying a bigger jet,” Ahmad said, referring to landing fees and the cost of fuelling.
“As more 787s enter the fleet, it will likely replace the ageing and gas guzzling A330-300 on key routes, such as London’s Heathrow, where the airline enjoys high yield/fare paying passengers,” he added.
“It’s good to see Oman Air expanding its fleet. I have been a fan of the Dreamliner and ever since its introduction to the Omani fleet, the service has gone from good to better,” Maaz Firdous, consultant at Al Iskaan Engineering and frequent flyer with Oman Air, said.
According to Emdad Bachchu, managing director at the Akash Jatra travel agency, the planning of routes is very good as Oman Air focuses on Asia and the United Kingdom, the places in maximum demand by Omani air travellers. “They require these new planes surely to offer more to the customers and it is a good decision from Oman Air.”