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in Air Transport / Features

Oman duo link up to crack the codeshare

Posted 7 May 2021 · Add Comment

Oman’s budget airline and national carrier are getting closer. A codeshare between Oman Air and low-cost carrier (LCC), SalamAir, seems likely to be the first step in more extensive cooperation between the two companies.

Win-win: Oman Air’s long-haul services complement SalamAir’s routes to the Indian subcontinent. Pictures: Oman Air and SalamAir 

The airlines began codesharing in autumn 2020 and, according to SalamAir CEO, Captain Mohamed Ahmed, the early stages have gone well.

Oman Air declined to comment on the development.

Codeshare negotiations had been under way for some time, explained Ahmed, but were complicated by the fact that LCCs and full-service carriers tend to be very different animals. The main issue is that SalamAir is not on GDS, the computerised systems that enable transactions between travel industry providers such as airlines, hotels and car rental companies.

“We’ve never believed in being on GDS. We think it’s an extra cost that passengers shouldn’t pay. We’re an online platform and that makes it a bit difficult, but both our IT teams have worked very hard,” said Ahmed.

“We know we can complement each other. We fly a lot of routes that they don’t and we don’t have long-haul, so our reach can expand.”

At present, the codeshare traffic is in one direction, with Oman Air putting its codes on several SalamAir services. However, early 2021 is expected to see the LCC gaining the necessary tools to put its codes on Oman Air flights.

“It’s been very smooth so far, we’ve had no issues,” said Ahmed. “In fact, the number of passengers is more than what we thought we would have.”

Most of the passengers using codeshared flights have come from the Indian subcontinent, transferred to Oman Air services in Muscat for onward flights.

Given the pandemic, load factors are not as high as usual, but yields are much better than they usually are because of capacity limitations, said Ahmed.

SalamAir is already looking at wider co-operation with Oman Air, notably in crew training, where the LCC could utilise Oman Air facilities. Additionally, SalamAir may be able to share Oman Air’s extensive engineering set-up.

Reported by Alan Dron.


 

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