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Thu 31 Mar 2016 12:58 PM

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Oman Air 'to consult passengers' on $5 aviation tax

Civil aviation authority to bring in new passenger levies from July 1

Oman Air 'to consult passengers' on $5 aviation tax

Oman’s national carrier has vowed to formally consult the public before imposing a new OMR2 ($5) levy on to passengers under changes announced earlier this month.

Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) announced it would increase its air traffic fee from April 1 to boost the agency’s revenue by more than 25 percent.

Under the plans – which were effective on March 15 but applicable to travel on or after July 1 – domestic airline passengers will have to pay a new $5 tax for travel from Oman airports from July 1, according to a statement from Oman Air, while an existing tax for international passengers will rise from OMR8 ($20.7) to OMR10 ($30).

However, Oman Air has this week pledged not to pass on the new fees to passengers without carrying out a formal consultation first, according to Times of Oman.

CEO Mohammed Al Zaabi tweeted news of the levy on his official Twitter handle earlier this month. However, Oman Air has reportedly since told passengers it will shoulder the burden of the new cost, not them.

“The national carrier will not pass this fee rise to the passengers due to the competitive pricing in the region by other Gulf carriers. And due to the commitment to stimulate travel to Oman, Oman Air will not offset these imposed increases by adjusting the fares upwards,” an unnamed spokesperson told the newspaper.

The spokesperson added: “Any increase from the authorities applies automatically and fully for the national carrier. No exemptions are made for the national airline.

“Oman Air respects the increases and will comply accordingly, even though such increases, which are imposed without formal consultation, could affect development of the logistic industry.”

However, travel agents and other commentators have warned the fee increase will affect the aviation and tourism industries in Oman.

“Airlines will not prefer to fly to Oman if they have to shell out more and more money. This will affect tourism prospects Oman,” one official was quoted as saying.

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