To ease pressure on local aviation market emerged from Gulf crisis, Oman Air has not only increased its frequency of flights from Muscat to Doha from three to four daily but also increased Muscat to Cairo flights from weekly eight flights to eleven.
“There was a shortage of seats in market emerging from the current situation in the Gulf and many flights were disrupted and all this happened in the peak season when the demand is usually very high every year. To accommodate the passengers, Oman Air increased frequency of its flights from Muscat to Doha from three per day to four,” said Ahmed Hazeem Al Balushi, Country Manager of Oman Air while talking to The Peninsula.
He said that the current situation developed when there was mounted pressure on the local market due to upcoming Eid and summer vacations. “People usually plan their trips in advance and the seats are got reserved accordingly. But due to ongoing crisis, all of their plans were disrupted. Luckily, we were able to react to the situation and Oman Air not only increased the frequency of Muscat-Doha-Muscat flights but also replaced smaller aircraft with the bigger ones to facilitate the passengers,” he added.
He said that the number of Muscat to Doha flights was increased from three to four daily while the Muscat had connections with other destinations across the globe.
Al Balushi said that Oman Air had played an important role in providing transportation to Qatari families stranded in Saudi Arabia in the beginning days of the crisis. “I do not know the exact number of Qataris who travelled from Saudi Arabia to Muscat to Doha through Oman Air but there number is big.”
Expressing hope that the current political crisis would be resolved very soon, Al Balushi said that Oman Air was also providing services to Qataris “who are visiting Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah these days”.
To a question about reports of air fare hikes by Oman Air, he said: “If there was some increase it was due to normal market practice. Had there been no such crisis in the region, there would have been little hike in this season as it occurs every year according to supply-and-demand rule. A little hike in this season is normal but unfortunately people are relating it to the crisis which is incorrect.”
Oman Air’ Country Manager said that Oman Air’s fares were competitive and “I can assure the passengers that we are not over charging them, not at all”.
He said that to facilitate Egyptian expatriates working in Qatar, Oman Air had increased the number of Muscat-Cairo flights from eight per week to eleven per week. “Oman Air will operate additional three flights on June, 21, 25 and 28,” he added.
Al Balushi said that the wide-body aircraft, currently flying between Muscat and Doha, were also facilitating trade exchange between two countries with more capacity to carry goods.
When asked whether Oman Air's increased frequency and upgraded aircraft had addressed existing market needs, he said: “Gap is still there. But, we do not have any room to increase the frequency of flights as our fleet of aircraft is being fully utilized. I near future, we are set to receive new aircraft.” Al Balushi further said that the current crisis had also put extra pressure on Muscat airport. “Our new state-of-the-art airport will be ready by next year,” he said. (Source)
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