Saturday, 25 September 2021

Oman Air returns to London Heathrow

There have been celebrations this week as the national air carrier of the Sultanate of Oman,  Oman Air, resumed flights between the home base of Muscat and London Heathrow on Wednesday 22nd September. 

The boutique airline will operate flights three times weekly on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, departing Muscat at 14:25 local time and arriving in London at 19:10 local time. The return flights from London will depart at 20:50 local time and arrive in Muscat at 07:15 local time on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. All flights are scheduled to be operated with Oman Air's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Oman Air has confirmed it will maintain its comprehensive safety program throughout all elements of the travel journey to ensure that guests fly confidently. Masks are required when guests are onboard the aircraft and in Oman's airports. Distancing is maintained while guests board and exit the aircraft, which are carefully cleaned after each flight and at the end of every day. Cabin crew all wear a full set of personal protective equipment, meal service has been modified to further ensure safety, and a number of other measures have been implemented to ensure that the airline's guests and crew are safe at all times.

165 Omani Nationals enrolled in various Oman Air Pilot Training Programmes

The airline has also been in a celebratory mood as it also confirmed this week that it had ramped up pilot training to meet growing demand for passenger and cargo flights, and to support its growth strategy for post-pandemic travel. 

Oman recently reopened to vaccinated travellers and expects a sharp increase in demand for flights from Omani citizens and residents of Oman eager to travel again, expats returning to work in the Sultanate, as well as international tourists in search of Oman’s celebrated appeal as a must-see destination in the Middle East.  

At the heart of the airline’s push to strengthen its pilot base is a renewed focus on Omani recruitment and training. 101 Omani nationals are currently enrolled in Oman Air’s Cadet Pilot Training Program: 30 have recently started technical language courses at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat; 26 have completed their technical language courses and will soon start ground school; 14 will fly to the USA to complete their flight training; and 31 are currently undergoing flight training in Spain.

An additional 40 licenced Omani pilots are enrolled as Ab-initio second officers as part of narowbody type rating at the airline’s headquarters in Muscat—8 of whom are now flying as First Officers. This reaffirms Oman Air’s commitment to the country’s broader Vision 2040 strategy which envisions and encourages nationalization of the workforce and more opportunities for Omani youth in private and government sectors.

“With the easing of travel restrictions for Oman announced recently, enquiries to our call centre have surged and we anticipate robust demand for travel in the foreseeable short term,” said Captain Nasser Al Salmi, Chief Operating Officer, Oman Air. “To support what we then expect will be a gradual ascent to pre-pandemic levels in the coming years, our focus now from an operational standpoint is on route optimization and pilot training, and making sure that Oman Air is sufficiently staffed to meet our goals for growth and success. With 165 Omani nationals enrolled in our various specialized pilot training programs, we are confident that our pilot pool will strengthen operating capabilities for many years to come.”  

By the end of 2021, Oman Air will have welcomed 24 Omani pilots previously flying for other airlines—20 have already joined the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet, and the remaining 4 will join before year end. Captain Moosa Al Shidhani, Oman Air Senior Vice President of Flight Operations, stated that the airline continues to select Omani pilots in line with the country’s Vision 2040 objectives to increase the share of Omanis in the workforce. “As a national airline and country brand ambassador around the world, Oman Air is committed to hiring Omani pilots as a priority, and we are extremely proud of our track record—currently, 426 Omani pilots represent 96 percent of our total pilots.”

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