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Oman Air wants to join the oneworld alliance

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According to a Reuters report, Oman Air is looking to join British Airways as a member of the oneworld alliance.

This would be a handy development for UK residents, given that British Airways has dropped flights to Muscat.

The story is vague. It states that Oman Air has asked Qatar Airways for ‘guidance’, which would be necessary because a new member requires a sponsor. It doesn’t say that Qatar Airways has agreed, and obviously there are some routes where the two carriers overlap.

Oman Air oneworld alliance

Even if we assume that Qatar Airways will work with Oman Air to progress the application, don’t expect much progress in a hurry. It tends to take around 18 months for alliance memberships to be processed, because a substantial amount of IT integration is required. It also requires the airline to make changes to its frequent flyer programme to match oneworld tiers and benefits.

I rate Oman Air highly. I reviewed Oman Air First Class here and I reviewed Oman Air Business Class here on a 2019 trip between Heathrow and Muscat. There are also lounge reviews as part of that series. I stayed at The Al-Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel which had just been refurbished and has the best stretch of beach.

I liked what I saw, and had plans to return to Oman with my family last Autumn before covid intervened. It’s a trip I intend to revive as soon as I can.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as it develops, but nothing will happen in a hurry. For now, the best way to redeem frequent flyer miles for Oman Air flights is via Etihad Guest.

Comments (27)

  • Andrew H says:

    I’d still get an iPhone from John Lewis. You get two year’s warranty included and using the right site to shop at JL you get 1.05 Avios/£1.

  • Craig says:

    Oman Air may provide a recommended first class experience but their customer service is quite disgraceful. We had to get Amex involved to get a refund for 2 business class flights at the onset of Covid. We arent alone.

  • Blenz101 says:

    Oman as a country has a huge deficit and has received a huge bailout from its GCC neighbours. Just yesterday it announced plans to double its rate of VAT to 10%.

    Qatar getting under the hood of the national carrier is no doubt related to that wider economic situation.

    • rj24 says:

      I also think the fact Oman stayed loyal to Qatar during the recent spat means there is a debt of gratitude being repaid. Working in the region, a number of sources have said post World Cup, Qatar will help Oman with a number of its projects.

      • Dubious says:

        As you indicate, Oman and Qatar have had a close relationship for a long time now – you used to be able to enter Oman without a visa if your last port of call before Oman was Qatar.

        They share two of the same neighbours which probably helps and I have always felt them to be slightly more culturally similiar to each other than to their neighbours.

        It must have only been about 10 years ago that the UAE was found to have been spying on Oman…

        Turning to their respective airlines, I thought OmanAir and Qatar used to have some kind of cooperation agreement in the days before Qatar joined OneWorld.

        • John says:

          But the Qatar visa was more expensive than the Oman visa.

          And you could also enter Oman without a visa if you were travelling directly from Dubai (not the rest of the UAE), which was free.

          I looked this up just before covid, and IIRC the Dubai-Oman joint visa still existed. While visiting Qatar had become free for British citizens in 2017, if you wanted to go to Oman you still had to pay for the Qatar-Oman joint visa in Qatar; this was now a good deal because Oman had increased its visa price for entering directly.

    • Jonathan says:

      My grandfather (ex RAF) spent a reasonable amount of time in Oman as a military advisor. They’re in an interesting situation as a country. Spend money like their Gulf neighbours (including a huge proportion of the population in pointless civil service jobs on fat salaries) with a fraction of the natural resources to pay for it.

      The previous Sultan had a huge personal loyalty potentially thanks to his largesse but with a very bottom loaded demographic profile the non jobs for all will have to end. His successor (cousin) has introduced some cultural reforms around freedom of expression & religion & reduced state oversight of population but it remains to be seen if that is enough to keep the population happy.

      It’s a much more beautiful country physically than UAE so hopefully tourism will be an important industry for them moving forward. It’s not a cheap destination though.

  • Dominic says:

    Oman Air would be a great addition (I’d easily have had status for years of they were Oneworld!). Would get my business over Etihad if they joined the alliance.

  • Vish says:

    I have a offer on my BAPP Amex. Spend £1 get 100 Avios! How strange, although I should manage that!

    • FFoxSake says:

      Only a Spend £1 get 50 Avios for me.
      Feeling like an Economy class BAPP customer 🙁

    • flyforfun says:

      £1 get 100 for me! Glad it’s valid to the 26/10. Got £50 left to trigger my BAPP 241 voucher and want to eek out as much time as possible on it.

      I wonder if this overrides or is in addition to the spend £5K get 10,000 points? Has anyone had any success using paypal on this? Doing a course with an overseas provider and their card payment processer failed (but Amex confirmed they received no call) and the other option to pay is paypal. Holding out for them to sort it out with their processor!

      • Vish says:

        Hmm. I think this has overriden my £5k for 10,000. not happy

      • RussellH says:

        I got the spend £1 and get 100 avios offer and still have the earlier offer of spend £2000 and get “I cannot remember exactly how many avios” which I have ignored.

  • peter says:

    I have seen somewhere that Argos and Sainsbury gift cards can be used in both places, has anyone tried it?

  • marcw says:

    There’s no need of another ME airline in OW. OW should focus on China, SouthAmerica and Africa. Those should be their priorities.

    • blenz101 says:

      That isn’t the thinking here. This is purely about what is best for Qatar and Oman both as nations / airlines / economies.

      QR can throw its weight around in OW to its own advantage whilst the global industry is suffering. I don’t doubt they will get their way on revising lounge access rules for example.

      As the world moves away from petrochemicals and the Middle East diversifies its economies Qatar can sit back on one of the worlds largest natural gas reserves and not worry.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        Also QR can take a stake in Oman air and make the routes non-overlapping.
        Keep the flagship routes with QR and move the others to Oman Air.

        • chabuddy geezy says:

          Apart from China Southern, there are not many suitable airlines in those 3 parts of the world who are not already in an alliance.

        • Callum says:

          How do you see that working?

          Oman’s government wouldn’t remotely be happy about losing direct connections to “flagship” cities, then if you need to fly XXX-DOH-MCT-YYY to get to those non-flagship destinations people are going to go elsewhere.

          I think that strategy only really works when both airlines are based at the same hub.

          • John says:

            Well, see SAS which sometimes requires you to do CPH-ARN in between two long-hauls.

            And for some reason lots of people who need a Schengen transit visa get booked on Lufty via FRA-MUC then get denied boarding.

            People will happily book X-DOH-MCT-Y to save a few dollars or rupees.

          • Blenz101 says:

            Oman won’t get a choice if they want QR $. OW codeshares will ensure they save face.

            OW membership a triumph for all.

          • Callum says:

            John – And when there’s a one-stop alternative for roughly the same price (which there’s almost always going to be when transiting the Middle East), how many people do you think are actually going to buy it?

            Blenz – I think you greatly underestimate how important status is for these countries. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I simply cannot imagine Oman agreeing to this – they’d have to be in some kind of extreme crisis. Nor do I see Qatar having much interest in upsetting Oman by “forcing” them to do this – they’re desperate to retain allies in the region. Prioritising increased frequencies at DOH instead of MCT absolutely, but they certainly are not going to just move all the flagship routes away from MCT.

    • Paul Pogba says:

      I’d like to see Westjet or even Air Transat join for better connectivity into the Canadian back country but with Alaska in the western part of that patch and WS appearing to have upset BA with their transatlantic ambitions it seems unlikely.

  • NC says:

    Does this reduce the chances of BA resuming Muscat flights?

    • Rob says:

      This will be a slow process. If BA thought it could make a few quid this Winter by bringing back Muscat it would do it anyway to keep some crew and aircraft busy – although you’d assume Abu Dhabi would be first. If Oman Air did join OW you would assume BA would codeshare to Muscat to avoid flying it itself.

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