Oman Air will add an additional 22 weekly frequencies across five of its routes into India after the bilateral Air Service Agreement between India and the Sultanate of Oman was revised during the recent International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Air Services Negotiation event in Turkey. The expanded schedule will further serve the significant Indian expatriate workforce in Oman and the wider Gulf region.
The airline plans to add more than 5,000 additional seats into the Indian market with new flights to Bangalore, Goa, Jaipur, Kochi and Lucknow, boosting the number of daily flights it operates into India to up to 20 across eleven destinations. The new agreement permits a total capacity entitlement of 21,149 seats per week for both sides and while Air India, Air India Express, IndiGo, Jet Airways and SpiceJet fly are designated on the Indian side, only Oman Air currently has rights from the Sultanate.
Under its revised schedule, Oman Air will introduce second daily rotations between Muscat and Bangalore and Kochi; will boost weekly frequencies between Muscat and Lucknow from seven to eleven; will increase flights between Muscat and Jaipur to ten weekly from the current daily offering; and will add one additional weekly flight on the Muscat – Goa route to offer a daily schedule.
The additional flights will commence from the start of next month and will be operated using a mix of Boeing 737-800 and 737-900 equipment. Once this stage of its growth is completed Oman Air will operate a total of 126 frequencies per week between Muscat and its destinations in India.
“Since we first launched flights to India in the 1990s, demand for seats aboard Oman Air’s outstanding aircraft has been consistently high. We will now offer daily or double-daily flights to all eleven of our destinations in India,” said Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Executive Officer, Oman Air.
The Indian sub-continent is an integral part of the Oman Air network and alongside serving the large point-to-point flows between Oman and Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, it also provides transit opportunities across the Gulf region and into Europe and North Africa. It currently flies to 19 destinations in the Indian subcontinent which includes eleven destinations in India.
“Our new flights to Goa, Bangalore, Kochi, Lucknow and Jaipur will offer even greater choice and convenience for both leisure and business travellers. Therefore they will not only support the growth of tourism in Oman and India, but will also help to promote vital trading partnerships between our two countries,” added Gregorowitsch.
The new Air Service Agreement between Oman and India will also open new network opportunities for India’s carriers and local media is already reporting that low-cost carrier IndiGo is planning to launch its own flights between Kochi and Muscat with the new entitlements.
An estimated 4,700 passengers a day are flying between India and Oman and vice versa with Oman Air holding a 32.6 per cent share of this traffic over the 12 months to August 2015, according to O&D demand data from Sabre. Scheduled O&D demand between Oman and India has grown by an average annual rate of 16.0 per cent between 2005 and 2014 and passenger traffic for the first eight months of 2015 was up 10.4 per cent on the same period last year.