Oman is considering the launching of a new regional airline that could take over local operations from the national transporter Oman Air; two well-informed sources told Reuters.
The sources said that Oman’s government-run aviation group issued this month a request for proposals to study the feasibility of operating the new airline, Oman Link.
The creation of a new local flight airline will allow Oman Air to focus on its international flights’ network, competing with major Gulf carriers, namely Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.
The two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the details are private, said that the new airline could partner Oman Air, with the two companies linking passengers, but would have its independent administration.
One source said that the proposals are scheduled to be presented by 11 November. The new airline will use regional aircraft for local flights, and possibly later flights to other cities in the region where there is insufficient demand to fill larger single-aisle aircraft used by other airlines in Oman.
Oman Air operates flights to four airports in the country, including Muscat’s main international airport, according to its website. The airline uses 166-seat Boeing 737s and 71-seat Embraer E-175s for local and regional flights.
Sources in the sector say that it is too costly to operate both aeroplane models on local routes for profit in a time when Oman has been restructuring its aviation sector in recent years.
Established in 2018, Oman Air Group includes Oman Air, Oman Airports and Oman Aviation Services.
The second airline, Salam Aviation, for economy flights, was launched in 2017. The airline is owned by government pension funds and the Muscat Municipality.
Last week, Etihad Airways and Air Arabia said they would jointly establish a low-cost airline in Abu Dhabi.