By Claire Valdini
Daily service to Iranian capital part of Gulf carrier's plot to break even within three years
Oman Air will launch a daily route to the Iranian capital, Tehran, from September 1, the state-backed carrier said.
Flights to Tehran will depart Muscat at 0200 (three days per week) and 0930 (four days per week) and return at 0610 (three days per week) and 1240 (four days days per week), the carrier said in a statement.
The Muscat-based airline is expanding its routes as it looks to reduce its losses this year following a OMR110m (US$286m) shortfall in 2011 amid stronger business-class and leisure demand.
The carrier is expected to run at a loss until 2014 as rising operational costs and surging oil prices squeeze margins, Philippe Georgiou, chief officer of corporate affairs, said in May.
The Gulf sultanate’s airline, which in April 2011 doubled some staff salaries under a pay deal agreed in the wake of widespread strike action, said it is on course to break even in three years.
“We are in the second year of our five-year profitability plan, and we will continue to make decreasing losses until we break even in 2014,” Georgiou said.
“Oman Air is government-owned 100 percent, but… eventually we have to have profitability. We are not going to be a subsidised airline forever.”