Oman Air boss reveals plans for bigger fleet at London briefing

THE Oman national airline is likely to add more aircraft its fleet, announced its chief executive at a press conference in London.

Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch said that talks are on with Boeing and Airbus Group for an order for the latest generation of wide-body jets to replace 12 older A330 planes.

"Oman Air plans to open negotiations in the coming weeks, with a focus on the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus A350-900 model and the Boeing 787-9 or -10 from its US rival", Paul Gregorowitsch said at the briefing.

He revealed that the A350 might hold an edge while flying on the longest routes to destinations such as South Africa. However, a top official from the carrier’s headquarters in Muscat told the Times of Oman that the airline could not reveal further details at this stage.

"At this stage, we are not in position to give further details, the same will be available after we finalise the negotiations with manufacturers," said Abdulrazaq J Al Raisi, the executive vice president of Corporate Services and Business Development at Oman Air.

Oman Air has already sourced two Boeing 787-8s from Kenya Airways on three-year lease terms as part of a deal to purchase landing slots at London’s Heathrow airport from the African carrier and Air France, adding to the two Dreamliner aircraft already in its fleet.

Mr Gregorowitsch said Omani flag carrier is aiming to make a profit at an operating level by the end of 2017, with its state owner’s funding contribution due to drop to OMR34 million ($88m) this year from OMR64 million in 2015.

The company is currently negotiating with two carriers in Europe and one in Asia as it seeks a joint venture partner with which to operate flights as an alternative to joining a global airline alliance, the Times of Oman report added.