ONEWORLD: Oman Air to join in 2024
How could you resist an airline that has a frequent flyer program called ‘Sinbad’?
At the IATA Annual General Meeting yesterday, Oman Air CEO Eng Abdulaziz Al Raisi and OneWorld CEO Rob Gurney announced that Oman Air would be joining the alliance, providing the whole box and dice of OneWorld benefits, probably from 2024. That will bring to 3 the number of OneWorld members in the Middle East, including Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian.
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The Muscat, Oman-based airline will be adding destinations such as Duqm and Khasab in Oman and Chittagong in Bangladesh as well as frequent flyer lounges in Muscat, Salalah and Bangkok.
About Aman Airways
The airline launched as the domestic carrier of the Sultanate of Oman in 1993. It is now an international carrier serving over 20 territories and 41 destinations. Its fleet is made up of 40 plus aircraft including Boeing 737s, 787s and Airbus A330s, configured in two or three-class cabins. Most impressively some of Oman Air’s aircraft have First Class Private Suites for longer-haul flights. The airline has earned a reputation for in-flight hospitality, although passenger reviews of the airline over the pandemic period are to say the least mixed according to TrustPilot and Airline Quality websites.
Oman Air currently flies to 5 OneWorld airline hubs – Amman, Colombo, Doha, Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow. It already has codeshare arrangements with Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and SriLankan Airlines – all also members of OneWorld.
Additions to an airline alliance are nearly always a good thing. It broadens the destinations, offers more earn and redeem possibilities for frequent flyers, promises smoother luggage transfer between member airlines and adds to the lounge network you can access.
Oman Air is the third new member in the last 5 years, along with Royal Air Maroc in April 2020 and Alaska Airlines in March 2021. That gives OneWorld 3 Middle East members, and 2 in the USA.
Oman Air will need to lift its game if it wants to be seen as an alliance member worthy of the OneWorld name. The very bad online reviews start in March 2020 and are almost exclusively about pandemic-related disruptions including cancelled flights and lack of or long wait times for ticket refunds. It doesn’t sound like they have managed the disruptions of COVID-19 well. If you look at their pre-pandemic reviews, they tend to be a lot more glowing whatever cabin class the passenger travelled in. Those first-class suites look very tempting.
Lets hope that by 2024, Oman Air has recovered from the pandemic and has adjusted its refund policies and services levels to restore its pre-COVID-19 reputation.