Oman Air eyes daily Muscat-Manila flights
MANILA, Philippines – Oman Air, the lone carrier serving the Muscat-Manila route, eyes to increase the frequency of its long haul service to the Philippines from 3 times a week to daily.
“There’s a huge market between the Gulf and the Philippines itself,” Ritchie Tuano, Oman Air country manager to the Philippines, said on Wednesday, December 3.
Paul Gregorowitsch, chief executive officer of Oman Air, said they are "highly confident" of the "economic viability" of the daily operations.
The carrier, owned by the Sultanate of Oman, launched its tri-weekly flights between the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the Muscat International Airport on Tuesday, December 2.
At present, the bilateral agreement between the Philippines and the Sultanate of Oman limits the carrier from mounting more flights.
Tuano said Oman’s minister of foreign affairs is in talks with his counterparts in the Philippines to push for more seat entitlement.
“That is something that needs to be expanded before we could actually mount flights with the current 3 times weekly services,” Tuano told reporters.
Gregorowitsch added, “We also need the approval from the government here in the Philippines and we hope they will recognize the investment made by Oman Air."
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), about 40,000 of them in Oman, are the carrier’s core market, Gregorowitsch pointed out.
The Oman Air CEO said they expect a high load factor during the Christmas season.
“The holidays are up coming and many people from the Philippines working and living in the Middle East are using this opportunity to take advantage of our attractive fares,” Gregorowitsch added.
But apart from OFWs, Gregorowitsch said the airline is also marketing Oman as a destination among tourists – to step up demand for the long-haul service.
Oman’s tourism industry is the country’s other source of revenue aside from oil and gas industries.
Manila is Oman Air’s 44th destination. On December 14, Oman Air will launch its Muscat-Jakarta service.
Over the next 3 years, the airline intends to expand its fleet from 30 to about 55 jets, Gregorowitsch said. – Rappler.com