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Oman Air plans expansion of wide-body fleet

KUALA LUMPUR

Oman Air is in talks with planemakers Airbus and Boeing to expand its wide-body fleet to 25 jets and hopes to conclude the deal in the next two to three months, its CEO said.

Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch said the airline currently has 16 wide-body planes – six Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 10 Airbus A330 – but hope to increase that number to 25. This would involve replacement of some existing Airbus planes, and adding nine more new jets.

“We have negotiations currently with Airbus and Boeing. If (Boeing) has a good offer, we may take all, or we could have a mixture of Airbus A350 with the Boeing 787,” he said on the sidelines of a press event in Kuala Lumpur.

“We then have the opportunity to increase flights between Muscat and Dubai from 8 to 10 daily,” he said.

Gregorowitsch said the carrier has also seen a 39 per cent increase in forward bookings for June to December period for the Kuala Lumpur-Muscat route. In addition to that it also saw a 21 per cent increase in capacity on flights bound to and from Kuala Lumpur year-to-date, following the cancellation of its Kuala Lumpur-Singapore stopover service.

The airline, which flies to 53 destinations worldwide, is looking to increase the number to 75 within the next six years. Its current fleet comprises Dreamliners, Airbus 330-300s, 330-200s, Boeing 737-900s, 737-800s and Embraer 175s.

Gregorowitsch ruled out plans of putting in a bid for Air India.

“Today we have no interest to make a bid for Air India or part of Air India. Today we have different priorities. The economies in the Gulf are having some cross winds… rather than following examples of other Gulf carriers which have not been so successful at financially participating in airlines in either India, Asia or Europe,” he said.

The Oman Air CEO also indicated that his airline is hoping that the Indian government will stick to its stated position of following an open sky policy with countries which are less than  from India. This open sky policy will allow the airlines from other countries which are less than  away from India to operate as many flights as they like here.

Reuters