A comprehensive air transport agreement has been signed between the European Union (EU) and Oman, described as an “important first step” in a planned five-year implementation leading up to a fully formalised open skies accord.
Oman already holds bilateral third- and fourth-freedom rights with several EU countries, including France, Germany and Italy. The agreement paves the way for flight increases on existing routes, and for Omani carriers Oman Air and Salam Air to add other European destinations to their networks.
Reciprocally, it will allow EU airlines to fly to all Omani airports from their home country or from any other EU member state. Air France and KLM are currently the only EU airlines to serve Oman’s capital Muscat (MCT), with Air France flying nonstop from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and KLM offering an Amsterdam (AMS) service via Dammam (DMM) in Saudi Arabia.
In addition, the agreement, which follows two years of negotiations, contains provisions on aspects such as safety, air traffic management, the environment and fair competition.
“The agreement will no doubt enhance connectivity between Oman and EU destinations, providing an opportunity for our home carriers and for European airlines to enhance their networks between Oman and EU countries,” Oman Airports CEO Aimen Ahmed al-Hosni said.
He added that the move would result in a more efficient utilization of airspace, more competitive fares and more choices for the traveling public, as well as boosting trade, tourism and inward investment opportunities.
Oman Air CEO Abdulaziz al-Raisi and SalamAir CEO Mohamed Ahmed welcomed the strengthening of ties with the EU, saying the agreement will provide a platform for each carrier to expand their respective networks.
According to data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser, Oman Air offers four routes to destinations in the EU, flying from Muscat to Frankfurt (FRA), Milan Malpensa (MXP), Munich (MUC) and Paris Charles de Gaulle.