Oman Air’s ambitious growth target of flying to 60 destinations and having 70 aircraft by 2022 has been dented by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the airline industry.
The national carrier is now looking to cut costs and consolidate with fewer aircraft, focusing on being a smaller but efficient airline.
Dr Mohammed al Barwani, chairman of the Board of Directors, Oman Air, in an interview with a local news portal WAF News, said that the airline’s strategy forward will be getting in to more code sharing agreements.
“Our plan is to reduce the number of aircraft to 36 and focus on a smaller company. Going for 70 aircraft, the risk would have been quite high for the country and the airline.
Our strategy now is more code sharing,” he told the news portal.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global air passenger traffic plunged by an unprecedented 66 per cent in 2020 owing to travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given that travel restrictions have been applied mostly to international travel, domestic passenger traffic fared better, falling by 49 per cent, compared with 76 per cent for foreign passenger traffic, it said.
“Last year was a catastrophe. There is no other way to describe it,” an IATA statement quoted director general Alexandre de Juniac as saying.