Oman Air to stick with 737 Max order
Oman Air will not cancel its order of Boeing 737 Max after the grounding of the aircraft fleet in March 2019. The carrier has five 737 Max in its fleet and 25 more on order.
Following the involvement of Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crash in March 2019, Oman Air had grounded all aircraft of the series, like the rest of the world. The grounding and any chance of delivery of new Max planes soon has resulted in Oman Air cancelling hundreds of flights every month and impacting its ambitious growth prospects.
During an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to Business Insider, the American financial and business news portal, the news of Oman continuing with the order was revealed by Mustafa al Hinai, CEO, Oman Aviation Group (OAG). “Boeing is a good friend of Oman. Airbus as well,” Hinai was quoted by the portal as saying. “With Boeing, our relationship is going to continue as it is, there is no change in our relation.”
Following the delivery of its fifth Boeing 737 Max plane in October 2018, Oman Air had said that it was expecting to receive nine more 737 Max planes in 2019, which never happened.
The airline has a mixed fleet which includes a combination of Airbus A330 widebody jets, Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 737 planes and several Embraer jets. “Boeing is a very strategic partner of OAG,” Hinai said. “We ordered 30 aircraft - we’ve received some, and the rest are still to come.”
In June last year, Abdulaziz al Raisi, CEO, Oman Air, had said that the Max grounding had caused a major financial impact and had significantly curtailed the airline’s expansion plans for 2019 and 2020.
Boeing has reached agreements with several airlines for compensation related to the grounding and delivery delays, and Hinai expects a similar arrangement. “I think Boeing is going to come out with a fair proposal to us,” he said.
On the airline’s expansion plans, Hinai said, “We focus on eight destinations, five of them European cities: London, Paris, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich. Apart from that, we have the GCC countries, China and Russia.
“The US is a phase two for us. Flying to the US will happen through a codeshare in the meantime, but in late 2021, 2022, we’ll be focusing on the US market,” he said.