Oman Air sets out initial long-haul fleet plans

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Middle Eastern carrier Oman Air intends to introduce nine Airbus A330 aircraft by the end of 2011, doubling its fleet size and heavily increasing the airline’s capacity as part of a Government programme to replace Gulf Air in Muscat.

Oman Air is also to explore the potential for Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 acquisition.

The airline is setting out a five-year plan to develop its fleet and set out business targets after the Omani Government’s decision to drop its involvement with Gulf Air and invest in its own flag-carrier.

Oman Air, whose fleet comprises five Boeing 737-800s and three 737-700s, is to have ten 737s by the end of March 2009. But the carrier’s chief executive, Ziad Al-Haremi, says the airline will also have nine A330-300s and -200s by 2011.

“These numbers of aircraft are not the end of it, but merely the beginning,” he says, adding that an international consultant will be recruited to develop a 20-year long-term business plan.

“This is where we are heading: the latest aircraft with the latest in-flight entertainment systems. We are going to three-class configurations on some of our future long-haul routes,” says Al-Haremi.

“Concurrent with this ambitious growth plan the airline aims to embark on a major restructuring and rebranding initiative.”

Oman Air has been seeking aircraft to lease and is expecting to open its first long-haul services, probably to London and Bangkok, by November this year.