Oman Air traffic grows 21% in 2016; 32% of traffic connecting on 50-destination network from Muscat; 11 more destinations by 2023
Oman Air, the national carrier of Oman based at Muscat Airport, operates a fleet of 47 aircraft, made-up of: four E175s; 22 737-800s; five 737-900s; four 787-8s; two 787-9s; four A330-200s; and six A330-300s. It currently has a order backlog of 37 aircraft, including: 30 737 MAXs; four 787-8s and 13 787-9s. The carrier’s 2016 annual report states that by 2023 it will have 56 aircraft serving 61 destinations, compared to 50 destinations this summer; or an average increase of 1.8 destinations per year for the next six years.
Traffic grew to 7.71 million in 2016
Last year Oman Air handled a record 7.71 million passengers, up by over 21% when compared to 2016. Indeed it has been a decade of consistent 20% average year-on-year growth for the carrier. If the 20% average trend is to continue for 2017, then Oman Air should welcome around 9.3 million passengers this year. Load factors are also increasing – with an average of 74% last year, up from 71% in 2015. Since 2006, Oman Air’s annual traffic has increased by 527%.
According to OAG Traffic Analyser data, in 2016 some 2.47 million Oman Air passengers connected at Muscat, a 30% increase in connecting traffic when compared to 2015 (when just less than 1.92 million passengers used Muscat as a transfer point). To put this into perspective, more passengers connected with Oman Air last year than the whole amount that flew with the airline in 2009. It seems that connections have become a big part of Oman Air’s expansion strategy, with 32% of all passengers now using the airline to transfer, compared to a 20% share the market had in 2012. Indeed, in the past five years, connecting traffic has increased by an annual average of 31%.
Oman Air operating 229% more weekly flights in S17 than S08
This summer Oman Air is operating 661 weekly flights from Muscat (w/c 1 August 2017), an increase of 6.1% when compared to S16. Since S08, Oman Air has seen an average 16% increase in weekly flights. The biggest spike occurred in S15, when the carrier operated 106 more weekly departures from the Omani capital than it did in S14, an increase of 22%. Since S08, the amount of weekly flights that Oman Air operates from Muscat has grown by 229%.
This summer, Oman Air serves 50 destinations from Muscat, up from the 22 destinations it served in W07/08. Since last year, Oman Air has added Manchester and Nairobi to its Muscat network (after adding Najaf, Mashhad and Guangzhou in 2016). While it recently ended service on the domestic route to Sohar from Muscat, in the past year the carrier has also begun flights between Salalah in Oman and Kozhikode in India. The only other route that the airline operates that does not involve Muscat is the daily service it operates between Salalah and Dubai.
Domestic link leads the route charge
Oman Air’s domestic connection between Muscat and Oman’s second city of Salalah (highlighted in light green) is the leading route in its network, with the intra-Omani link accounting for 9.6% of the carrier’s weekly seats from the capital this summer. It remains the leading route despite Oman Air cutting weekly seat capacity on the service by 26% in S17 when compared with the same period of last year. Its ranking is then followed by links to Jeddah (5.7% of weekly seats) and Dubai (5.6%) to complete the top three connections.
Although the airline has confirmed that it wants to add a further 11 destinations by 2023, it has not announced any future routes from Muscat in the short-term. However, presumably this will happen soon after Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) opens the new Muscat Airport terminal in 2018 – an important component of infrastructure of national importance to Oman.