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Like the Gulf super-connectors, Oman Air carries more than two-thirds of its passengers on transfer flights over its hub. This sixth-freedom model allows the flag-carrier to surpass the limitations of its home market, unlocking routes and frequencies that could never be sustained by Oman’s population of just 4.8 million.
Unlike its better-known neighbours in the UAE and Qatar, however, the Muscat-based airline is now rolling back its reliance on transfer traffic.
New chief executive Abdulaziz Al Raisi is targeting a 50/50 split between connecting flows and point-to-point flows within a couple of years, and he wants to achieve this even as Oman Air accelerates the growth of its fleet and network.
“With sixth-freedom traffic you are going into competition with a lot of giant airlines, big players. It’s very hard for us as a small airline to survive in that market,” Al Raisi explained...