Alan Dron

Oman Air is buying two ATR 42-500s and taking options on a further four machines, in a deal worth up to $90 million announced yesterday at the show.

Describing his company as "probably one of the world's least-known airlines," general manager Clive Raymond said the carrier aimed to do "-something radically new in the Arabian Gulf - operate services at times of the day when people might conceivably want to fly." His tongue-in-cheek comment reflects the fact that much of the region's air traffic occurs at dead of night as flights arrive from and depart to Asia and Europe. The new aircraft - Raymond expects to exercise the options, for either more ATR 42s or larger ATR 72s next year - will be used to create "the area's first truly regional carrier," he adds.

Oman Air plans to operate its ATRs from Muscat to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Doha and Gwadar, in Northwest Pakistan. "It's my belief that the Muscat - Dubai route should be a real shuttle," says Raymond. The carrier is looking at dedicating one aircraft to that route.

Source: Flight Daily News