Oman Air is the flagship carrier of the Sultanate of Oman and an Official 4 Star Airline (Skytrax 2011). Founded in 1993, the airline has since witnessed massive growth and has played a major role in making Muscat an important traffic hub in the Middle East, supporting the commercial, industrial and tourism sectors.
Currently Oman Air’s fleet consists of two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 18 Boeing 737-800, one Boeing 737-700, four Embraer 175s and an ATR 42. Four more Dreamliners will join the fleet in the following years. By 2018, Oman Air’s total fleet size is expected to be around 57 aircraft, rising to 70 aircraft by 2020.
Oman Air scooped four awards at the Oman Airports Management Company Second Annual Awards ceremony, on February 2015. The national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman was recognized as one of the top five airlines by number of passengers carried at Muscat International Airport. It also received an award as one of the top three airlines at Salalah International Airport, as well as receiving accolades in the Non-Aeronautical and Stakeholder of the Year 2014 categories.
Oman Air won two awards at the World Travel Awards Middle East 2015, where the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman came top in the ‘Middle East's Leading Airline - Business Class’ and ‘Middle East's Leading Airline - Economy Class’ categories. Oman Air was also named as the winner of the ’Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East’ award at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2015.
I tried and tested the regional Business Class seat on this short-haul flight from Kathmandu International Airport to Muscat International Airport on the Boeing 737-800NG aircraft.
Route: KATHMANDU (KTM) to MUSCAT (MCT)
Departure date and time of flight: August 2015, 09:30
Flight number: WY332 (Oman 332)
ATC Callsign: Oman
Flight duration: 3 Hours 50 minutes
Class: BUSINESS CLASS
Aircraft type: BOEING 737-81MNG (17 aircraft of this type in service)
Aircraft registration: A4O-BV
Aircraft Serial Number: 40068/LN:5160
First flight: 30th October 2014
Aircraft delivery date: 21st November 2014
Aircraft engine types: Two x CFMI CFM56-7B26E
Frequent flyer programme:
Sinbad is the official frequent flyer program. Click here to see more.
Seat configuration for this aircraft:
Business Class: 12 angle flat seats in a 2-2 configuration
Economy Class: 150 seats in a 3-3 configuration
Punctuality of the flight/route taken:
This early morning flight departed from Kathmandu on time and landed on time on a ridiculously hot morning in Muscat. After departing Kathmandu, the flight made its way towards India, while providing stunning views of the Himalayas, and then went right over New Delhi- the closest I have got to being on Indian soil in 16 years…albeit from 40,000 feet. Then we went over Pakistan, leaving Karachi before making a straight in approach into Muscat.
Any baggage issues:
Unlike in most other countries where friends and/or relatives can go inside the terminal up to the security check point, at Kathmandu Airport, only passengers are allowed to go inside the terminal building. It is somewhat a pleasant experience because the terminal is not so crowded, and therefore the check-in process is quite an effortless and smooth affair. After checking in on the ground floor. The process from check-in to the lounge through the security takes around about 15 minutes.
Lounge experience at Kathmandu Airport:
Business and First Class passengers flying with Oman Air can use the lounge at Kathmandu Airport, located after security. On this instance, I was the only passenger in the lounge. There are plenty of options for food and beverages, and majority of the entertainment (TV and reading material) is either in Nepalese, English or Hindi (and most of it is either from India or Nepal). The lounge is a communal lounge that is shared by many airlines.
In-flight magazine: Wings of Oman is the in-flight magazine. Click here to read online PDF copies.
Comments regarding the pre-flight service:
Passengers’ in Business Class are offered hot lemon scented towels prior to departure. This is followed by a drinks service, which consists of some of the world’s finest wines, and champagne. In Business Class, the cabin crew offer various kinds of drinks prior to departure:
I opted for the orange juice on this occasion. The welcome drink was served with fresh dates from Oman, and warm and sticky nuts.
Comments regarding the pre-meal service:
Around about 35 minutes after departure, drinks were served from the trolley, including freshly brewed coffee and also tea as well.
Comments regarding the breakfast meal:
I opted for a Western breakfast meal, which was ‘tomato and sautéed onion omelette red pepper sauce roasted wedges chicken sausage glazed asparagus’.
After the breakfast, standard tea and coffee with biscuits was served in bone china cutlery.
Comments on the in-flight entertainment system:
Oman Air offers a variety of in-flight entertainment options, including video, audio and TV. Please click here to see more. On my flight, the IFE system did not work at all, which obviously was disappointing. However, it didn’t really matter much as it was a short flight. It would have been nice if the interactive map was working so that I could see where I was flying over but this was not working. No big deal. Otherwise, the flight experience was good.
The Oman Air Boeing B737-800NG cabin offers 12 Recaro-designed Business Class seats in a 2-2 configuration. Each seat features electric backrest/seat bottom, leg rest and seat depth controls, a 10.6-inch in-arm video screen, PC power outlet, USB port, reading light and literature pocket.
To complement this outstanding comfort and amenity, Oman Air has fitted the same Thales AVANT in-seat audio video on demand (AVOD) system in this short and medium haul aircraft as it has in its new long haul A330s.
Both the Oman Air’s new Airbus A330-300s and new Boeing B737s feature seats newly-designed by Zodiac Aerospace. Each offers exceptional comfort and features a one-piece composite seat back structure, a high seat back pivot and articulating bottom pan and a four-way adjustable headrest.
Seat pitches reflect the length of flights each aircraft are deployed upon, with the A330’s 265 seats offering 32 inches and the 737-900ER’s 171 seats offering 30 inches. A folding aisle-side armrest offers increased ease of access, and a sturdy, bi-fold, sliding food table makes a pleasure of in-seat dining or working.
Meanwhile, the 10.6-inch seatback LCD screen offers access to the same IFE options as those enjoyed in Business Class. A USB is mounted on the LCD screen that can be used to charge any mobile smart phone and each pair of seats shares a PC power port.
Comments of professionalism of the cabin crew:
The cabin crew appear to have been trained very well, and seem to know how to handle all kinds of situations. The trainers must have had everything thrown at them, ranging from rowdy passengers to those having a nervous breakdown. These people are amazing. They really do pamper you.
Now, I am not saying this because I was travelling in Business Class, but the crew were very friendly and hospitable to ALL the passengers, and showed a genuine smile whenever. Like I said before that I have not been on any of the South Asian carriers, and I have read horror stories of passengers experiencing delayed flights, bad customer service, blocked toilets etc. But, contrary to belief, I experienced none of that. The plane was very clean, the food was out of this world delicious, and the customer service was authentic, genuine and just awesome.
Comments on the interior of the aircraft (including seat comfort):
The Business Class regional cabin is fitted with the spanking new fully angle flat seat, which has a pitch of 40 inches and a width of 21.
There is certainly plenty of space available. I had my camera bag (which is annoyingly big), plus my laptop (I seldom have to sleep on a daytime flight so I end up working!), AND my carrier bag. All of these were neatly stored before departure. Oh, there is also space for you to put your shoes during the long flight so you can sit like as if you are sitting on your sofa at home. There were plenty of in-flight magazines and newspapers (both Arabic and Western) for passengers.
There was no amenity kit provided for this short-haul regional flight.
Oman Air logo and livery:
In 2008, Oman Air completely overhauled its livery, switching its base colour from red to turquoise blue and ditching the traditional khanjar dagger symbol in favour of a logo representing incense smoke. Oman Air chief executive Ziad Al-Haremi at the time unveiled the new livery at a ceremony in Muscat. The new identity follows the Omani Government’s decision to withdraw from Gulf Air and concentrate on developing Oman Air as the sultanate’s sole flag-carrier. The livery features a gold-and-silver swirl which is reminiscent of a swirl of smoke from the aromatic resin frankincense for which Oman is particularly renowned.
The turquoise colour represents the expanse of both the sky and the sea while the gold and silver colours stand for Oman’s wealth and silver artefacts – including the curved khanjar dagger, the national symbol which Oman Air’s livery previously featured.
About Airline PR
This is a special section on Airline Branding, and Airline Public Relations written by me on all the flights I have been fortunate enough to have been on. These are not records taken from somewhere else, but are actual flights I have been on. Most of the flight trips are officially sponsored by the airline companies in order to promote their certain routes, and aircraft. Airline promotion and PR related work in the aviation industry is one of my expertise.
Watch exclusive videos below taken in the cockpit of a Boeing 777-300ER in-flight over Chinese Airspace.
Special thanks goes to
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 1
B777-300ER Cockpit Video 2
Proud media partner of QATAR AIRWAYS