Oman Air helps Muscat make up for loss of Gulf Air flights; Frankfurt, Munich start this week

Image: Oman Air Cake
It’s an A330-200. Oman Air’s first A330-300 will start flying on 25 October, also on the German routes. You can vote to make the Fraport’s delicious-looking creation Cake of the Week.

The Sultanate of Oman, located just south of the United Arab Emirates and with borders to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, is the same size as Italy or Poland but with a population of less than three million people. The capital city of Muscat is also home to the country’s major international airport which last year handled just over four million passengers, down from its peak in 2006 when almost 4.8 million people passed through the airport.

Chart: PAX
Source: ICAO, Muscat Airport, Oman Air

The traffic decline in recent years can be explained by the decision of Oman to withdraw from its ownership of Gulf Air in May 2007. As a result Gulf Air withdrew services from Oman to focus on its Bahrain base, while Oman Air entered a period of rapid growth. Passenger traffic at the airport in the first half of 2009 is up 7% to 2.11 million.

Image: Oman Stewardesses
Oman Air got quite a welcome party when it showed up at Frankfurt earlier this week – for a full report click here

Oman Air adding routes to Europe

Based on current schedule data Oman Air has a 55% share of flights and seat capacity at Muscat airport, with 23 other carriers contributing the remaining 45%. The airline offers non-stop services to 25 destinations including 10 in India. Up until now its only European connection was to London Heathrow but this week sees the start of new non-stop services to both Frankfurt and Munich, while Paris services begin in mid-October. This has been made possible by the airline’s decision to acquire several A330s including two it has on lease from Jet Airways. Oman Air’s first A330-300 is scheduled to start flying from 25 October and will serve the German routes.

Oman Air’s passenger numbers have grown by over 60% in just two years thanks in part to the addition of new services to Jeddah and Riyadh (both September 2007), Karachi (October 2007) and London and Bangkok (both November 2007). The airline’s fleet consists of two ATRs (used on domestic routes), 13 737s (mostly -800s) and three A330s.

Image: Phase 1
Phase one to expand Muscat will increase capacity to 12 million by 2012. Recent declines can be explained away by the decision of Oman to withdraw from Gulf Air in 2007. As a result Gulf Air pulled out while Oman Air entered a period of rapid growth. Traffic at Muscat was up 7% in the first half of this year to 2.11 million.

European majors mostly operate one-stop flights

Regional routes to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha are the airport’s busiest with at least five flights per day to each destination. Domestic flights to Salalah operated four-times daily by Oman Air rank joint fifth.

Chart: Top 12 airlines
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 7 September 2009

European carriers serving the airport include British Airways (via Abu Dhabi), Lufthansa (via Abu Dhabi and Bahrain), KLM (via Abu Dhabi), Swiss (via Dubai) and Turkish Airlines (non-stop to Istanbul). Air Arabia, which operates 10 weekly flights to Sharjah, is currently the only regional low-cost carrier to serve the airport.


  1. I flew with Oman Air earlier this year from LHR to Muscat and was very impressed with the service.

    Has consideration been given to operating from the Airport I run on behalf of the Peel Airport Group i.e. Doncaster Sheffield – runway length 2,893m and 60m wide

    Happy to discuss further with the relevant person(s)



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