The CEO of Oman Air said yesterday that the carrier will grow significantly over the next 3 years, including adding about 10 additional cities in 2009 (to a total of 40). I bring this up because Oman is the last of the Gulf states without a significant airline presence. Emirates has grown to a global powerhouse, while Qatar Airways and Etihad (based in Abu Dhabi) have re-created themselves as world-class carriers over the past few years. Oman Air has remained a regional player – until now.
This move actually seems to re-affirm one of my predictions for 2009 (that Oman will become a major player in the region), as they roll out flights to Paris and Frankfurt. With 787s coming in 3 years, I’m certain we’ll see Oman’s flag carrier on US shores by then. With the region’s economy in turmoil, it seems to be a nutty time to be growing an airline in the area, but with the full backing of Oman’s government (and basically no competition on nonstop routes) I expect them to be a major addition to the area within 3 years.