By Robeel Haq
Flagship carrier eyes bigger slice of budget travel market on certain routes, says CEO
Oman Air is considering the launch of economy-only flights on routes with low demand for premium class travel, the state-backed carrier’s CEO has said.
Peter Hill said a handful of the flag airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft could be reconfigured to offer economy-only seating for routes with higher demand for budget travel.
“We are looking at new seating arrangements,” Hill told Aviation Business magazine. “One option is the introduction of all-economy services, because demand for business class in some of the subcontinent markets is low, so that should be reflected with seat utilisation.
"I expect around four or five of those aircraft will have all-economy arrangements.”
A similar initiative was launched by Etihad Airways in October last year, when two Airbus A320s were configured to carry 162 economy class passengers, an increase of 42 from the previous economy capacity.
The all-economy cabin aircraft were introduced on short-haul flights with high demand for low-cost travel, for cities such as Alexandria, Calicut, Colombo, Damascus and Doha.
Speaking at the time, Etihad CEO James Hogan said the move allowed the airline to offer “a more competitive produce in key point-to-point markets in Asia, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent.”
State-backed Oman Air said last week it was in talks for compensation after the delivery of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft was delayed. After a series of delays in the Dreamliner’s production, the first delivery is now expected in the second half of 2014.