Oman Air have overnight increased their capacity from Heathrow to Muscat by 200%. This is the result of the highest ever purchase price for landing slots at Heathrow.
According to The Times Oman Air paid a record $75 million for a pair of take-off and landing slots, which will allow it to offer three daily services to Heathrow at least one will be arriving into Heathrow in the early morning . The price reflects Heathrow running at total capacity and Oman’s intention to increase tourism. Oman Air passenger numbers have grown substantially over the last decade from less than 1 million in 2004 over 5 million in 2014. With 35 aircraft and up to an additional 30 on order, the slots will be invaluable in feeding passengers into Muscat which will have increased capacity when the new airport terminal is completed. Oman Air CEO Peter Gregorowitsch says “We are growing to 10 million guests on board,….and we are going to do that in 2020, with 70 aircraft and 75 destinations”; which will be up from 50 destinations at the moment.
Will Oman Air follow other Gulf airlines and fly from northern Britain, Birmingham, Glasgow or Manchester make good sense.
Hand in hand with Oman Air’s increase in capacity are new leisure and business facilities. The Oman Convention Centre is due to open his year while over 3,000 new hotel rooms being completed over the next couple of years. Hotels with properties to open include Anantara in Salalah and Jabal Akhdar, dusitD2 and Jumeirah in Muscat. There are several other hotels throughout the country and Qatari Diar intend to develop 700 hotel rooms in 5 star hotels and a boutique resort with an additional 700 residential properties over the next few years in Ras Al Hadd which is down the coast from Muscat.