Oman Air has officially announced that it will join the Oneworld alliance, less than a year after reports on the subject.
The news was announced at IATA’s 78th Annual General Meeting in Doha, with Oneworld member Qatar Airways acting as a sponsor for the carrier’s entry into the alliance. Oman Air said that Qatar Airways will provide “guidance and support as the airline integrates into the alliance”.
The Muscat-based airline is expected to join the alliance in 2024, with members of the carrier’s Sindbad frequent flyer programme able to earn and redeem miles across the alliance’s member airlines. The carrier’s top tier members will also receive additional benefits including lounge access when travelling with other members of the alliance.
Meanwhile, Oneworld Emerald, Sapphire and premium cabin customers will also gain access to the three Oman Air lounges at Muscat, Salalah and Bangkok.
This news means that Oneworld will have three members in the Middle East – Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian. Oman Air will also add new destinations to the alliance’s network including Duqm and Khasab in Oman and Chittagong (Bangladesh).
Oman Air was launched in 1993 and currently operates a fleet of over 40 aircraft, serving 41 destinations in more than 20 territories. It operates to five Oneworld member airline hubs – Amman, Colombo, Doha, Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow – and already codeshares with four of the alliance’s member airlines: Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and Sri Lankan Airlines
In a press release, it stated that “joining oneworld will pave the way for additional codeshare opportunities, further enhancing global connectivity across the alliance’s network”.
Analysis from Business Traveller’s consumer editor Alex McWhirter
Until now alliance members have been spread apart so as not to conflict with one another.
So for example we find Thai Airways, ANA and Singapore Airlines in Star Alliance, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines in Oneworld, and Korean Air in Skyteam.
The few exceptions are where airlines are jointly owned like Air France/KLM or BA/Aer Lingus.
The hubs of Qatar Airways and Oman Air are located fairly close and certainly much closer than Amman, the home of Royal Jordanian.
Some years ago Oman Air was prepared to spend a record price on a single Heathrow slot – it paid Kenya Airways US$75 million. That record sum stands to this day.
Has the airline the cash to do that today?
Perhaps we shall see Oman Air developing a long-haul network in conjunction with Qatar Airways?
Yes here I am speculating but we shall see what happens in the years ahead.
Oman Air CEO Eng. Abdulaziz Al Raisi said:
“Oman Air’s admittance into oneworld represents a defining moment in our journey to provide passengers with greater travel options through our developing partnerships and alliances. We’re delighted to be joining the world’s foremost airline alliance at a time when demand for travel is on the rise. We look forward to welcoming oneworld members onboard Oman Air to experience the height of Omani hospitality and all that the Sultanate of Oman has to offer in terms of history, culture and natural beauty.”
Oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Executive Akbar Al Baker also commented:
“Today marks a new milestone in oneworld, as our friends at Oman Air become a member elect of our award-winning alliance. Passengers of Oman Air will be offered a seamless travel journey, connecting them to more than 900 destinations across 170 countries. As the Chairman of oneworld, we look forward to welcoming Oman Air into our alliance as they will bring great benefits, allowing passengers to discover not just a new member with an excellent reputation, but a beautiful country.”
Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney added:
“We are delighted that Oman Air has chosen oneworld as its global airline alliance partner. With its network in Muscat and award-winning customer service, Oman Air will reinforce our position as the premier airline alliance for global travellers. As the global travel industry continues to recover from the pandemic, the significant growth of oneworld in recent years demonstrates how important alliances and partnerships will continue to be.”
There are currently 14 full members of Oneworld, with Royal Air Maroc and Alaska Airlines the most recent to join in 2020 and 2021 respectively.