• Oman Air to challenge Gulf rivals in India

    Oman Air, the sultanate’s state-owned carrier, is carving out its own position in the Indian market as it looks to take on its larger Gulf rivals. The Muscat-based airline said last month it wants an extra 8,000 weekly seats on flights to India within two years, increasing its current share by around 40 per cent to 29,820.

    That would give it more than Qatar’s 24,800 weekly seats but less than Dubai’s 65,000 seats and Abu Dhabi’s 49,670 seats, according to Indian newswire PTI.

    Oman Air, who is targeting to at least break even in 2017, is counting on increasing demand for international travel from one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets. The move is likely to challenge Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, who are some of the largest foreign carriers flying in and out of India.

    “Demand is certainly there for Oman Air to expand. There are opportunities to grow transfer traffic as well as origin-destination traffic,” Binit Somaia, Director South Asia at CAPA — Centre for Aviation, told Gulf News by email.

    Passenger traffic in India increased by over 20 per cent in 2015, according to the International Air Transport Association. By comparison, air travel in China grew by roughly 10 per cent and by less than 5 per cent in the United States. Tom Brady Jersey

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