Oman Air explains decision to buy, not lease, 787s

Abu Dhabi
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Oman Air opted to take its Boeing 787 order onto its own books in order to give the carrier greater flexibility to furnish the twinjets.

The airline had originally planned to lease a batch of six 787s but disclosed in November that it had instead taken over part of Kuwaiti lessor ALAFCO's backlog.

Speaking during the Arab Air Carriers Organization conference in Abu Dhabi, Oman Air chief Peter Hill said: "When we've invested in aircraft we've put a lot of equipment on board.

"Leasing companies aren't interested in leasing anything other than a standard aircraft."

Hill said the carrier intended to introduce "upmarket" seats, in-flight entertainment and other amenities, and to do this on a leased aircraft was simply to improve another party's "real estate".

He said Oman Air "hadn't firmed up" the deal to lease the 787s, and added that there would have been no option to switch powerplants under the original plan. While ALAFCO had signed to fit General Electric GEnx engines to the 787s, Oman Air is to change to the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.

Oman Air will begin taking delivery of the 787s in 2016.